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BMC Med. 2013 Apr 29;11:115. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-115.

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

Author information

1
Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zürich, 8057, Switzerland. frank.ruhli@anatom.uzh.ch

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.

PMID:
23627943
PMCID:
PMC3639037
DOI:
10.1186/1741-7015-11-115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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