Svante Paabo

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Primary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Section: 51, Anthropology
Membership Type: International Member (elected 2004)

Research Interests

The main goal of my research is to better understand human evolutionary history through genetic analyses. My research is concentrated in two different areas. The first area is the retrieval of DNA from archaeological and paleontological remains. This allows ancient genetic information to be studied directly. My group has developed technical approaches as well as criteria to authenticate results that have allowed DNA sequences from extinct creatures such as mammoths, moas and ground cloths to be determined and compared to those of extant related animals. We have also retrieved DNA sequences from Neanderthals and shown that they are unlikely to have contributed to any great extent to the gene pool of present-day humans. My second area of interest is the comparative study of genomes and gene expression in humans and the great apes. The goal is to understand how functional aspects of the human genome evolve. Currently, we are particularly interested in the evolution of gene expression in the brain and genetic changes that may underlie aspects of human cognition and the human ability for articulate speech.

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