A methodological analysis of the application of evolutionary medicine to non-communicable diseases

The application of evolutionary biology to medicine is a powerful way to explain health and disease, but how does it promote new medical discoveries? Reconstructing the ‘environment of evolutionary adaptedness’ to identify mismatch between the organism and current environments produces only very weak predictions about disease. Recent work in philosophy of science provides resources to better understand the heuristic role of evolutionary ideas for biomedical research. This research will explain how evolutionary thinking has facilitated important new approaches to non-communicable disease. Clearer understanding of how evolutionary thinking informs research will promote its uptake by researchers.

(ARC Grant DP130101774)

Research Team:
Paul Grifiths