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Health and Medicine

Why Study Evolution?

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Lisa Winter

Guest Author

clockOct 1 2013, 23:15 UTC
10 Why Study Evolution?
Dimitri C

“I don’t believe in evolution, so why don’t you guys give it a rest? Who cares if anybody knows any of this anyway?”

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The most obvious reason to understand evolution is healthcare. Antibiotic resistant superbugs, such as MRSA, can easily create life-threatening illnesses. Though the genes that make resistance possible have always been present in the bacterial genome, they may not dominate the population until the pressure of the drug is present. Understanding how this selection occurs and using antibiotics responsibly will help curb resistance, and increases the likelihood of effective treatment of bacterial infections.

 

Cancer is a breakdown of the regulatory system in the cell cycle. Understanding concepts such as natural selection, adaptation, mutation, genomics, proteomics, origin of disease, and bioinformatics have allowed cutting-edge personalized treatments against cancer, which yield a much higher success rate. This has already been detailed at great length by our page: http://tinyurl.com/evolutionarymedicine

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In conservation, genetics can be the difference between recovery from the endangered species list and complete extinction. When genetic diversity is low, species become ill-equipped to deal with any environmental pressures, and the health hazards related to inbreeding depression increase. Without this knowledge, many species would be lost, and global biodiversity would plummet.

 

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Perhaps the greatest reason for studying evolution is just to know more about life today than we did yesterday. By learning how such biodiversity arose, we are able to understand ourselves and our place in the world on a far deeper level. The fact that humans are the product of 4 billion years of evolutionary achievement from a single celled organism should not be viewed as something cold and sterile. Life is beautifully complex, and the fact that so much random trial and error was able to produce a species capable of having this conversation should be celebrated. 

 

The admin staff of IFLS are dedicated to helping others feel the same sense of wonder that we feel when learning new things about biology, hoping in turn, you’ll be inspired to ask questions. To create. To discover. To explore. To broaden your view of the magnificent world around you.


Health and Medicine
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