This chapter by Michael Rose and collaborators appears in a new book, On Human Nature 2017, Pages 695–705. It is full of ideas, large and small.
Rose, M. R., Rutledge, G. A., Cabral, L. G., Greer, L. F., Canfield, A. L., & Cervantes, B. G. (2017). Chapter 42 – Evolution and the Future of Medicine. In M. Tibayrenc & F. J. Ayala (Eds.), On Human Nature (pp. 695–705). San Diego: Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-420190-3.00042-9
Medicine has undergone three major revolutions up to the end of the 20th century. Here we propose the need for a fourth: one based on evolutionary biology and genomics. Medicine is reaching the limits of what can be achieved, with its present focus on etiologies of chronic disease that arise from single genetic mutations or the interruption of single metabolic pathways. Now medicine faces the etiological, diagnostic, and therapeutic challenges that arise from complex genome-wide inherited risk factors—risks that are in turn further complicated by their dependence on dietary and other lifestyle choices. Evolutionary biology offers both explanatory frameworks for such risks as well as new strategies for mitigating their impact on human health, particularly in the context of chronic disorders. However, in order to take advantage of this new opportunity, an extensive and careful reconfiguration of the biomedical sciences is required.