Special Issue of J. Mol. Med on Evolutionary Medicine

Special Issue of J. Mol. Med on Evolutionary Medicine

A special issue of the Journal of Molecular Medicine on Evolutionary Medicine has ten articles of special interest

The editor, Konstantinos Voskarides, says in the overview “Evolutionary Medicine is a fast-growing research field providing biomedical scientists with valuable information on molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms of disease. This is the reason that Journal of Molecular Evolution has devoted this issue to Evolutionary Medicine. Nine detailed review papers are included in this issue, analyzing topics that are among the “hottest” subjects of Evolutionary Medicine. All information is up to date and highly valuable for scientists that would like to start their career or get updated on this field.”

Voskarides, K. (2020). Editorial: A New Bright Era for Evolutionary Medicine. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09919-y

Stearns, S. C. (2020). Frontiers in Molecular Evolutionary Medicine. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09893-5

Byars, S. G., & Voskarides, K. (2020). Antagonistic Pleiotropy in Human Disease. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 12–25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09923-2

Christaki, E., Marcou, M., & Tofarides, A. (2020). Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria: Mechanisms, Evolution, and Persistence. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 26–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09914-3

Daschner, A., & González Fernández, J. (2020). Allergy in an Evolutionary Framework. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 66–76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09895-3

Kaján, G. L., Doszpoly, A., Tarján, Z. L., Vidovszky, M. Z., & Papp, T. (2020). Virus–Host Coevolution with a Focus on Animal and Human DNA Viruses. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 41–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09913-4

Kyriazis, M. (2020). Ageing Throughout History: The Evolution of Human Lifespan. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 57–65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09896-2

Mourouzis, I., Lavecchia, A. M., & Xinaris, C. (2020). Thyroid Hormone Signalling: From the Dawn of Life to the Bedside. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 88–103. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09908-1

Rocha, J. (2020). The Evolutionary History of Human Skin Pigmentation. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 77–87. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09902-7

Saitou, M., & Gokcumen, O. (2020). An Evolutionary Perspective on the Impact of Genomic Copy Number Variation on Human Health. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 88(1), 104–119. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00239-019-09911-6

Club EvMed January: Cancer and Aging

Sign up now for two great Club EvMed discussions in January

Club EvMed: Integrating evolutionary dynamics into clinical cancer treatment

Monday, January 11th at 12pm EST

Join us for a conversation with Robert Gatenby, Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Evolutionary Therapy and Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the Moffitt Cancer Center. In the talk, Dr. Gatenby will outline basic evolutionary principles and mathematical models used to design clinical therapies with the goal of both control and cure of metastatic cancers. He will summarize the results of the first evolution-based clinical trial in metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Attendees are encouraged to read Zhang et al. 2017 “Integrating evolutionary dynamics into treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer,” Stanková et al. 2019 “Optimizing cancer treatment using game theory,” Gatenby and Brown 2020 “Integrating evolutionary dynamics into cancer therapy,” and Gatenby et al. 2019 “First strike-second strike strategies in metastatic cancer: lessons from the evolutionary dynamics of extinction.”

After the talk, perspectives on how the research applies in a clinical setting will be presented by Shelley Hwang, Mary and Deryl Hart Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Surgery at Duke. Sign up here for the meeting link: https://duke.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIoc–rrjMpG9Nn2VYkmDZAUQgyQmz339QG.

Club EvMed: Successful Aging in the Forest: How wild chimpanzees can help us understand the evolution of human aging

Thursday, January 28th at 12pm EST

Join us for a conversation with Melissa Emery Thompson, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Recent research has revealed that despite shorter life expectancies, humans in small-scale subsistence populations exhibit surprisingly good health, suggesting that some debilitating diseases of aging may be novel products of industrialized environments. This research highlights an urgency to look deeper in our evolutionary past to understand how we age today. I will discuss emerging findings from the first longitudinal study to examine aging in our closest evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees, in their natural environment. Attendees may be interested in reading articles in a recent theme issue on primate agingSign up here for the meeting link: https://duke.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsfuqhpz0uGtLfw4QojGJWjBK5VnxytrYf.

Maladaptation: Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications

Maladaptation: Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications

Evolutionary Medicine focuses on maladaptation. A special Issue of Evolutionary Applications offers a series of useful papers on the latest thinking. The overview article is likely to be of special interest.

Causes of maladaptation

Steven P. BradyDaniel I. BolnickAmy L. AngertAndrew GonzalezRowan D.H. BarrettErika CrispoAlison M. DerryChristopher G. EckertDylan J. FraserGregor F. Fussmann… See all authors First published: 23 July 2019 https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.12844

Evolutionary biologists tend to approach the study of the natural world within a framework of adaptation, inspired perhaps by the power of natural selection to produce fitness advantages that drive population persistence and biological diversity. In contrast, evolution has rarely been studied through the lens of adaptation’s complement, maladaptation. This contrast is surprising because maladaptation is a prevalent feature of evolution: population trait values are rarely distributed optimally; local populations often have lower fitness than imported ones; populations decline; and local and global extinctions are common. Yet we lack a general framework for understanding maladaptation; for instance in terms of distribution, severity, and dynamics. Similar uncertainties apply to the causes of maladaptation. We suggest that incorporating maladaptation‐based perspectives into evolutionary biology would facilitate better understanding of the natural world. Approaches within a maladaptation framework might be especially profitable in applied evolution contexts – where reductions in fitness are common. Toward advancing a more balanced study of evolution, here we present a conceptual framework describing causes of maladaptation. As the introductory article for a Special Feature on maladaptation, we also summarize the studies in this Issue, highlighting the causes of maladaptation in each study. We hope that our framework and the papers in this Special Issue will help catalyze the study of maladaptation in applied evolution, supporting greater understanding of evolutionary dynamics in our rapidly changing world.

Call for Papers: Evolutionary Medicine & Palaeopathology

Call for Papers: Evolutionary Medicine & Palaeopathology

Evolution Medicine and Public Health will publish a special issue on Paleopathology in 2021. Submissions are invited. See below and this link for details

Bioarchaeology and its sub-discipline palaeopathology provide direct insight into the appearance, prevalence,  manifestations, and impact of particular health problems through thousands of years of human history and  prehistory. As such, these disciplines help to explain how and why certain diseases have emerged and evolved in humans. Additionally, the information gained from these archaeological contexts has the potential to identify possible aetiological factors that can be difficult to see in smaller, more locally confined clinical studies.

Currently, palaeopathology is under-represented in evolutionary medicine. With this in mind, we are launching a Virtual Issue of Evolution, Medicine and Public Health (EMPH) that will address questions in evolutionary medicine from the unique perspective of paleopathological research. 

For this Virtual Issue, we welcome and encourage the submission of data-driven research papers from scholars who use bioarchaeology and evolutionary theory to answer questions about medical issues affecting humans. If you or your lab are conducting such research, please consider submitting a paper to EMPH for consideration.  

Paper submissions will be accepted for consideration for this virutal issue from now until the target date of August 31, 2021.

Please contact the organizers for more information: Kimberly Plomp at kplomp@sfu.ca,  Gillian Bentley at g.r.bentley@durham.ac.uk, or Frank Rühli at frank.ruehli@iem.uzh.ch

A new strategy for preventing antibiotic resistance

A new strategy for preventing antibiotic resistance

Novel strategy from the Read group: Use an IV antibiotic but give an agent that binds it in the gut.

Morley, V. J., Kinnear, C. L., Sim, D. G., Olson, S. N., Jackson, L. M., Hansen, E., Usher, G. A., Showalter, S. A., Pai, M. P., Woods, R. J., & Read, A. F. (2020). An adjunctive therapy administered with an antibiotic prevents enrichment of antibiotic-resistant clones of a colonizing opportunistic pathogen [Preprint]. Evolutionary Biology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.24.059444

Abstract: A key challenge in antibiotic stewardship is figuring out how to use antibiotics therapeutically without promoting the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Here, we demonstrate proof of concept for an adjunctive therapy that allows intravenous antibiotic treatment without driving the evolution and onward transmission of resistance. We repurposed the FDA-approved bile acid sequestrant cholestyramine, which we show binds the antibiotic daptomycin, as an ‘anti-antibiotic’ to disable systemically-administered daptomycin reaching the gut. We hypothesized that adjunctive cholestyramine could enable therapeutic daptomycin treatment in the bloodstream, while preventing transmissible resistance emergence in opportunistic pathogens colonizing the gastrointestinal tract. We tested this idea in a mouse model of Enterococcus faecium gastrointestinal tract colonization. In mice treated with daptomycin, adjunctive cholestyramine therapy reduced the fecal shedding of daptomycin-resistant E. faecium by up to 80-fold. These results provide proof of concept for an approach that could reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance for important hospital pathogens.