(Re-) Defining evolutionary medicine

Ecol Evol. 2020 Oct 1;10(20):10930-10936. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6825. eCollection 2020 Oct.


The applicability of evolutionary biology principles to diseases has been largely questioned by the medical field. While Evolutionary Medicine (EM) developed in part to lessen this gap, EM is an independent field from both evolution and medicine, whose continued narrowing of topics as a consequence of its reductionist approach, in addition to its focus to introduce itself at a late stage in medical education, has led to its continued resistance toward implementation. In turn, this has had a profound and lasting impact on the awareness of evolution in medicine among physicians. For both the evolutionary and medical communities to reach a common perspective and obtain a greater frame-work of medical thought, a comprehensive view of the evolution of the healthy human being needs to be introduced as a starting point during the premedical curriculum. Here, we present our views on the ongoing challenges that have caused the continued division between the evolutionary fields and medicine, and provide solutions to help bridge the gap for an interdisciplinary field of evolution in medicine.

Keywords: development and evolution; education; evolutionary medicine; evolutionary theory; molecular evolution; phylogeography; pre‐medical curriculum.