Evolution in Health and Disease, second edition by Stephen C. Stearns

By Stephen C. Stearns

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An organism’s traits form a mosaic: some ancient, some new, some static, others rapidly evolving. Doctors do not treat genes; they treat traits influenced by genes expressed in whole organisms, such as infection, inflammation, blood pressure and chemistry, and anxiety. To do this well for many, if not all traits, they need to understand genetic evolution, trait evolution, and development. Mechanistic and evolutionary explanations Most medical research has been limited to questions about the mechanisms of the body.

We argue that while the emergence of new diseases has been a recurrent pattern since the origin of hominids, with the new emerging pathogens we now face an important epidemiological transition that potentially influences human adaptation and survival. In particular, global trade and transcontinental economic exchange and transport will considerably alter the occurrence and distribution of human infectious diseases and thus the selection they exert on humans. Geographical aspects of human diseases Latitude affects the diversity and distribution of many free-living organisms, but little is known about large-scale patterns of the distribution of human or animal pathogens (Finlay 2002).

In many regions where malaria is prevalent but not the Hb S or the G6PD deficiency, other mutant hemoglobins may be found. Data mapping compilation from different sources by one of the authors (FP). the deleterious allele to be maintained at a stable polymorphism. For the first hypothesis, the mutation rate would have to be very high and confined to certain human populations. Vandepitte et al. (1955) demonstrated that the mutation rate in hemoglobin was not high enough to maintain the observed frequencies of the sickle cell allele within populations.

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