Evolutionary explanations in medical and health profession courses: Are you answering your students' "why" questions? Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Biological Evolution
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Professional
  • Genetics, Medical
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Students, Health Occupations


  • In giving students evolutionary explanations professors should underscore principles of natural selection, since these can be generalized for the analysis of many medical questions. From a research perspective, natural selection seems central to leading hypotheses of obesity and type II diabetes and might very well explain the occurrence of certain common genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, hemochromatosis, Tay sachs, Fragile X syndrome, G6PD and others because of their compensating advantages. Furthermore, armed with evolutionary explanations, health care professionals can bring practical benefits to patients by treating their symptoms of infection more specifically and judiciously. They might also help curtail the evolutionary arms race between pathogens and antibiotic defenses.

publication date

  • May 10, 2005



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC1142319

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/1472-6920-5-16

PubMed ID

  • 15885137

Additional Document Info

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