Svante Pääbo

Portrait of Svante Pääbo
Svante Pääbo
Professor (Adjunct)
Ph.D. University of Uppsala, Sweden

Svante Pääbo has developed techniques and approaches that allow DNA sequences from archaeological and paleontological remains to be determined. This has allowed ancient DNA from extinct organisms, humans, animals and pathogens to be studied. His research group has determined high-quality Neanderthal and Denisovan genome sequences, allowing for the reconstruction of the recent evolutionary history of our species and the realization that these extinct hominins contributed DNA to present-day humans. Pääbo now focuses on the comparative and functional genomics of archaic and modern humans, particularly the evolution of genetic features that may underlie aspects of traits specific to humans.

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral research at University of Zürich, Switzerland, and UC Berkeley, USA.
  • Professor at University of Munich, Germany.
  • Director, Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


  • Gruber Genetics Prize, New Haven, CT, USA.
  • Lomonosov Large Gold Medal, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
  • Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Mountain View, CA, USA.
  • Keio Medical Science Prize, Keio University, Japan.
  • Dan David Prize, Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • Nakasone Award, HFSP, Strasbourg, France.
  • Princess of Asturias Award, Oviedo, Spain.
  • The Japan Prize, Tokyo.
  • The Massry Prize, Beverly Hills, CA, USA.
  • Prix International Fyssen, Paris, France.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Several honorary doctorates and memberships in academies.

Select Publications

  • Enard, W., et al.: A humanized version of Foxp2 affects cortico-basal ganglia circuits in mice. Cell, 137(5), 961-971 (2009).
  • Green, R.E., et al.: A draft sequence of the Neandertal genome. Science 328: 710-22 (2010).
  • Meyer, M., et al.: A high coverage genome sequence from an archaic Denisovan individual. Science 338: 222-226 (2012).
  • Prüfer, K., et al.: The complete genome sequence of a Neandertal from the Altai Mountains. Nature 505: 43-49 (2014).
  • Prüfer, K., et al.: A high-coverage Neandertal genome from Vindija Cave in Croatia. Science, 358, 655-658 (2017).
  • Slon, V., et al.: The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Nature, 561, 113-116 (2018).
  • Riesenberg, S., et al.: Simultaneous precise editing of multiple genes in human cells. Nucleic Acids Research, 47: e116 (2019).
  • Stepanova, V. et al.: An amino acid substitution in adenylosuccinate lyase reduced purine biosynthesis in humans after their divergence from Neandertals, in prep.