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Lecture 1 BIMM 2009

Lecture 1 BIMM 2009 - Lectures 1 2 The origins of humans...

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Lectures 1 & 2. The origins of humans and human disease. To understand diseases, it is useful to understand their origins. This in turn requires understanding the ancestry of human populations, and the environments in which they evolved (and in which they are still evolving). Human environments, the most prominent being the differences between the "hunter/fisher/gatherer", the "agricultural", and the "industrial" lifestyles, have to a large extent controlled the diseases that we contract. The explanations of disease in the context of human natural selection and human environmental transitions is labeled Darwinian medicine, or evolutionary medicine.
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1900 - In the US, the most frequent causes of death in the United States, at least in urban areas were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis. All of these are communicable bacterial or viral diseases, many of which have been nearly eradicated with antibiotics, vaccines, and effective sewer systems. Since the mid 1940s, the most frequent causes of deaths were cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a variety of degenerative diseases. This is due to a longer-lived population, but only in part. Human mortality, the recent evolution of disease origins
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Charles Darwin, born 1809, published "The Origin of Species" in 1859 In it, and other books, he proposed the theory of natural selection, with hundreds of examples and arguments. He began with the "artificial selection" of plant and animal variants by humans. At the time, scientists already believed in evolutionary change in animals and plants, but theories on the driving force behind evolution were wrong.
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Natural selection : Any variation (Darwin), or genetic change (Darwin + Mendel) will be naturally selected if it increases the probability that an organism will do the following: Survive throughout its entire reproductive period. Produce many progeny throughout the reproductive period. Protect progeny so that they survive to reproduce. Selective pressures are highly dependent on the environment (which includes other organisms), and are brutally harsh in many environments. Since the physical substance being selected is DNA sequence changes, selection principally acts at the level of genes (or gene combinations).
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