Medical students may soon be tested on evolution

What does evolution a field that often deals with changes over many generations have to do with preventing and treating disease in our lifetime? A lot, some scientists say. A collection of articles in the January 26 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences illustrates recent progress in applying evolutionary theory to a range of questions in medicine and public health, from why some people age slower and live longer than others, to why humans suffer from mental illnesses like autism and schizophrenia, to why we have higher rates of cancer than other species. If recent recommendations are implemented, future physicians may soon be tested on evolution in medical entrance and licensing exams, says an international group of doctors and researchers. [ more ]