By PIETRO DE CRISTOFARO and LAURA UNGAR
LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) — Swedish scientist Svante Paabo has won this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine for his discoveries on human evolution. Paabo spearheaded the development of new techniques that allowed researchers to compare the genome of modern humans and our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans. While Neanderthal bones were first discovered in the mid-19th century, only by unlocking their DNA — often referred to as the code of life — have scientists been able to fully understand the links between species. This included the time when modern humans and Neanderthals diverged as a species, and that mixing between them took place at later dates. The medicine prize kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements.