Centers of Evolutionary Medicine

Two decades ago, in an article entitled ‘The dawn of Darwinian medicine” published in the Quarterly Review of Biology,  George C. Williams and Randolph Nesse wrote:

“The substantial benefits of evolutionary studies of disease will be realized only if they become central to medical curricula, an advance that may at first require the establishment of one or more research centers dedicated to the further development of Darwinian medicine.”

It’s happened!

I compiled this list of academic centers with “evolutionary medicine” in their name. A few other evolutionary institutions, including CETI (Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology at my home institution, the University of New Mexico) are listed here as well:

Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich. Switzerland. http://www.anatom.uzh.ch/research/researchgroupruhli_en.html

Recent representative citation: Harris lines revisited: prevalence, comorbidities, and possible etiologies. (Papageorgopoulou et al., 2011 Am J Hum Biol 3:381-91. )

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Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University. Tempe, AZ USA.

http://www.biodesign.asu.edu/research/research-centers/evolutionary-medicine-and-informatics

Recent representative citation: Timing the origin of human malarias: the lemur puzzle. BMC Evol Biol. (Pacheco et al., 2011 BMC Evol Biol. 11:299. )

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Evolutionary Medicine Unit, University of the Witwatersrand and National Health Laboratory Service. Johannesburg, South Africa.

http://www.wits.ac.za/pathology/emu/9334/evolutionarymedicineunit.html

Recent representative citation: Genomics in the light of evolutionary transitions. Evolution. (Durand and Michod, 2011. Evolution. 64: 1533-1540)

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Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology. University of New Mexico. USA. http://ceti.unm.edu/

Recent representative citation: The primary role of fibrinogen-related proteins in invertebrates is defense, not coagulation. J.Innate Immun. (Hanington and Zhang, 2011 J.Innate Immun. 3: 17-27 )

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Center for Evolution and Cancer, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. University of California, San Francisco. USA.  http://cancer.ucsf.edu/evolution

Recent representative citation: Overlooking evolution: a systematic analysis of cancer relapse and therapeutic resistance research. PLoS One. (Aktipis et al., 2011 PLoS One. 6:e26100. )

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Liggins Institute, Centre for Human Evolution, Adaptation, and Disease. University of Auckland. New Zealand.

http://evomedicine.org/

Representative citation: Bateson P. Gluckman P. 2012. Plasticity and robustness in development and evolution. Int J Epidemiol. 41:219-23.

Go ahead and check these sites out. It is concrete evidence that evolution is taking its rightful place in the biomedical research.

Joe Alcock MD

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