Evolution, health and disease--Darwinian approaches to medicine

Acta Clin Belg. Jan-Feb 2009;64(1):2-6. doi: 10.1179/acb.2009.002.


It is widely recognized that the evolution theory has contributed to understanding genetics and infectious disease. More generally, however, training in evolutionary thinking can help both biomedical researchers and clinicians in asking useful questions they might not come up with otherwise. In this paper, evolutionary insights with clinical applications are discussed on allergy and cancer, the causes of atherosclerosis, antibiotic use and resistance, the polymorphic Major Histocompatibility Complex, the bubonic plague bottleneck and symptoms versus disease. Those examples make a strong case for recognizing evolution biology as a basic science for medicine.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Clinical Medicine*
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Biology*
  • Selection, Genetic*