Meeting: Catalysis Meeting

Evolution in Contemporary Human Populations: Medical, Genetic and Behavioral Implications

Date24-May-2007 ~ 27-May-2007
ProjectEvolution in contemporary human populations: medical, genetic and behavioral implications
SummaryMore intense interaction between evolutionary biology and medical science will benefit both fields. Human populations are attractive for evolutionary study because morphological, biochemical, developmental, demographic and behavioral traits can be accurately measured, because the causes of diseases that affect fitness can be identified, and because the unprecedented genetic detail available for humans is matched by long-term studies of phenotypic traits with large sample sizes. Population growth, globalization, improved health care and nutrition, and cultural and economic change are affecting family size, sex ratio, fertility, viability and longevity in contemporary humans with microevolutionary consequences. Heritable variation for morphological and biochemical traits has been demonstrated using classical molecular markers in many human populations and confirmed by the analysis of numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) resulting from the human genome project. We propose to convene researchers in evolutionary biology, medicine, human genetics and public health through a NESCent Catalysis Meeting on "Evolution in Contemporary Human Populations." The meeting will encourage an interdisciplinary synthesis of ideas in the post-genomic era. The insights gained have the potential to test life history predictions on the nature of tradeoffs, to illuminate longevity and aging, to help develop genomic medicine, and to dispel misinterpretations of human variation, using data from NIH clinical trials, including but not limited to the Framingham Heart Study. The meeting will help to document on-going evolutionary processes in modern human populations, to improve human health using evolutionary principles, and to launch a new scientific discipline.
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