A molecular approach to human origins

Svante Pääbo's research is focused on two areas. The first area is the retrieval of DNA from archaeological and paleontological remains. He has developed technical approaches as well as criteria to authenticate results that have allowed DNA sequences from creatures such as mammoths, moas and Neandertals to be determined. The second area is comparative genomics of humans and the great apes. He is particularly interested in the evolution of gene activity and genetic changes that may underlie aspects of phenotypic traits specific to humans such as speech and language. He is Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Guest Professor of Comparative Genomics at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and a member of numerous academies, including the National Academy, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy.