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Med Res Rev. 2018 Sep;38(5):1536-1549. doi: 10.1002/med.21487. Epub 2018 Jan 17.

Evolutionary and genetic features of drug targets.

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Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, P. R. China.
University of Heidelberg (ZMBH), Heidelberg, Germany.


In the modern drug discovery pipeline, identification of novel drug targets is a critical step. Despite rapid progress in developing biomedical techniques, it is still a great challenge to find promising new targets from the ample space of human genes. This fact is partially responsible for the situation of "more investments, fewer drugs" in the pharmaceutical industry. A series of recent researches revealed that successfully targeted genes share some common evolutionary and genetic features, which means that the knowledge accumulated in modern evolutionary biology and genetics is very helpful to identify potential drug targets and to find new drugs as well. In this article, we comprehensively summarize the links between human drug targets and genetic diseases and their evolutionary origins, with an attempt to introduce these novel concepts and their medical implications to the biomedical community.


drug discovery; drug target; evolutionary biology; genetics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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