Image of DNA

Evolutionary medicine is an
inter-disciplinary field that examines contemporary human disease within the
larger context of evolutionary history.

Research in evolutionary medicine addresses questions of how mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, and population histories (migration and gene flow) may have shaped genetic variation that contributes to human biological variation and disease.

For example, long-term evolutionary history extracted from multispecies genome comparisons provides information about the biological consequences of genetic variants that are associated with human diseases such as Miller Syndrome.

For example, genetic variants that confer malaria resistance may be more commonly found in geographic regions where malaria is prevalent. But in some cases, individuals that carry one copy of a particular malaria resistance mutation remain healthy while individuals that carry two copies may contract diseases such as sickle cell anemia. An evolutionary perspective on other organisms may help us to better understand and avoid bacterial resistance and pathogenic virulence.