EEB 413 - Evolutionary Foundations of Medicine
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
Department: LSA Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
BIOLOGY 171, 172 or 174, & 173; or BIOLOGY 192 & 173; or BIOLOGY 195 & 173.
Advisory Prerequisites:
EEB 390, BIOLOGY 305.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:


Almost 50 years ago, one of the founders of modern evolutionary biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky famously proclaimed that "nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution". Recently, it became evident that the same is true for medicine, because human evolutionary origin left indelible marks on our body and psyche. The goal of this course is to explore how basic concepts of evolutionary biology inform modern medical thought. We will cover the following topics: 1) Medically relevant genetic variation (from both Mendelian and quantitative perspectives), 2) Mutation and diseases, 3) Selection in past and present human populations, 4) Comparative method (homology, Polyphen, animal models of diseases), 5) Functions and adaptations (real vs. promiscuous functions, trade-offs, to treat or not to treat), 6) Evolutionary explanations of diseases (five evolutionary causes of imperfection and the corresponding diseases), 7) Evolution of aging, 8) Genetic conflicts in humans, 9) Pathological germline selection, 10) Pathological somatic selection and cancer, 11) Evolution of human pathogens (at the levels of individual patients and of populations), 12) Origin of novel human pathogens.

Course Requirements:

Evaluation will be based on quizzes, presentations, participation, midterm paper, and final paper.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for students in their junior or senior year, and other qualified and interested students are welcome.

Class Format:

There are two seminars per week at 1-1/2 hour each. About equal time will be allocated to student presentations and to explanations by the instructor.


EEB 413 - Evolutionary Foundations of Medicine
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

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