evol-med-gen

Evolutionary Medicine Themes

Evolution, kidney development, and chronic kidney disease.

There is a global epidemic of chronic kidney disease (CKD) characterized by a progressive loss of nephrons, ascribed in large part to a rising incidence of hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. There is a ten-fold variation in nephron number at birth in the general population, and a 50% overall decrease in nephron number in the last decades of life. The vicious cycle of nephron loss stimulating hypertrophy by remaining nephrons and resulting in glomerulosclerosis has been regarded as maladaptive, and only partially responsive to angiotensin inhibition. Advances over the past century in kidney physiology, genetics, and development have elucidated many aspects of nephron formation, structure and function. Parallel advances have been achieved in evolutionary biology, with the emergence of evolutionary medicine, a discipline that promises to provide new insight into the treatment of chronic disease. This review provides a framework for understanding the origins of contemporary developmental nephrology, and recent progress in evolutionary biology. The establishment of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), ecological developmental biology (eco-devo), and developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) followed the discovery of the hox gene family, the recognition of the contribution of cumulative environmental stressors to the changing phenotype over the life cycle, and mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. The maturation of evolutionary medicine has contributed to new investigative approaches to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infectious disease, and promises the same for CKD. By incorporating these principles, developmental nephrology is ideally positioned to answer important questions regarding the fate of nephrons from embryo through senescence. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

by: Robert L. Chevalier


Placenta, evolution and lifelong health.:Understanding how the placenta responds to maternal signals is therefore not only important for promoting optimal fetal growth but can also give insights into how human evolution affected developmental history with long-term effects on health and disease.

1: Lewis RM, Cleal JK, Hanson MA. Review: Placenta, evolution and lifelong health.Placenta. 2011 Dec 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Natural selection in a contemporary human populatiom: Is that natural selection operating on contemporary humans ? Can natural selection predict future evolutionary change for specific traits with medical significance

Byars SG, Ewban D, Govindaraju DR, Stearns SC. Colloquium papers: Natural selection in a contemporary human population. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jan 26;107 Suppl 1:1787-92

Global warming and medical problems: "The global warming of the planet and its anthropogenic origin are no longer debatable. Nevertheless, from a medical point of view, while the epidemiological consequences of the warming are rather well-known, the biological consequences are still poorly documented..."

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