Svante Paabo works on the edge of what’s possible. He ignites our imagination, unlocking tightly held secrets in ancient remains. By patiently and meticulously working out techniques to extract genetic information from skin, teeth, bones, and excrement, Paabo has become the leader of the ancient DNA pack. Sloths, cave bears, moas, wooly mammoths, extinct bees, and Neanderthals–all have succumbed to his scrutiny.
Paabo (see Image 1) broke ground in 1985, working surreptitiously at night in the lab where he conducted his unrelated PhD research, to extract, clone, and sequence DNA from an Egyptian mummy.