Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Darwinian Medicine

Instructor: Rod Hagley

This course will explore what Darwin's Theory of Evolution has to say about the cause of human disease, the maintenance of human health and the practice of modern medicine. During the first part of the semester students will review the basic principles of evolutionary biology and the historical events leading to the development of Darwin's theory. During the latter part of the course students will be asked to apply their understanding of contemporary evolutionary to problems in human development, infectious and noninfectious diseases, and appropriate treatment of human disease. Relevant issues addressed will include: the rapid development of antibiotic and antiviral resistance among human pathogens, the rapid development of crop pests and implications on the production of food, and remarkable evolutionary potential of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the potential of the emergence of new human pathogens.

Learning Objective:

  • History of the development of Darwin's Theory of Evolution
  • Principles of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory & Natural Selection
  • History of the Modern Synthesis
  • Artificial Selection & the Domestication of Living Organisms
  • Human adaptations
  • Evolution of Infectious Disease
  • Evolution of virulence
  • Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance
  • Evolution of HIV
  • Evolution of Crop Pests
  • Evolutionary defense mechanisms
  • Evolution and the human diet
  • Evolution of Parasitic Relationships in Nature
  • Basic Population Genetics

Last Update: October 28, 2013