Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 509-522

First online:

Evolutionary molecular medicine

  • Randolph M. NesseAffiliated withDetrainments of Psychiatry and Psychology, The University of Michigan Email author 
  • , Detlev GantenAffiliated withCharite-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)
  • , T. Ryan GregoryAffiliated withDepartment of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph
  • , Gilbert S. OmennAffiliated withCenter for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan

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Evolution has long provided a foundation for population genetics, but some major advances in evolutionary biology from the twentieth century that provide foundations for evolutionary medicine are only now being applied in molecular medicine. They include the need for both proximate and evolutionary explanations, kin selection, evolutionary models for cooperation, competition between alleles, co-evolution, and new strategies for tracing phylogenies and identifying signals of selection. Recent advances in genomics are transforming evolutionary biology in ways that create even more opportunities for progress at its interfaces with genetics, medicine, and public health. This article reviews 15 evolutionary principles and their applications in molecular medicine in hopes that readers will use them and related principles to speed the development of evolutionary molecular medicine.


Evolution Biology Genetics Darwinian medicine Evolutionary medicine Evolutionary molecular medicine