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New perspectives on evolutionary medicine: the relevance of microevolution for human health and disease


Rühli, Frank J; Henneberg, Maciej (2013). New perspectives on evolutionary medicine: the relevance of microevolution for human health and disease. BMC Medicine, 11:115.

Abstract

Evolutionary medicine (EM) is a growing field focusing on the evolutionary basis of human diseases and their changes through time. To date, the majority of EM studies have used pure theories of hominin macroevolution to explain the present-day state of human health. Here, we propose a different approach by addressing more empirical and health-oriented research concerning past, current and future microevolutionary changes of human structure, functions and pathologies. Studying generation-to-generation changes of human morphology that occurred in historical times, and still occur in present-day populations under the forces of evolution, helps to explain medical conditions and warns clinicians that their current practices may influence future humans. Also, analyzing historic tissue specimens such as mummies is crucial in order to address the molecular evolution of pathogens, of the human genome, and their coadaptations.

Abstract

Evolutionary medicine (EM) is a growing field focusing on the evolutionary basis of human diseases and their changes through time. To date, the majority of EM studies have used pure theories of hominin macroevolution to explain the present-day state of human health. Here, we propose a different approach by addressing more empirical and health-oriented research concerning past, current and future microevolutionary changes of human structure, functions and pathologies. Studying generation-to-generation changes of human morphology that occurred in historical times, and still occur in present-day populations under the forces of evolution, helps to explain medical conditions and warns clinicians that their current practices may influence future humans. Also, analyzing historic tissue specimens such as mummies is crucial in order to address the molecular evolution of pathogens, of the human genome, and their coadaptations.

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9 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:05 Mar 2014 14:20
Last Modified:10 Aug 2017 08:06
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1741-7015
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-11-115
PubMed ID:23627943

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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