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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Resource library : How does evolution impact my life?


Evo in the news: Livestock kick a drug habit
This news brief, from September of 2005, describes the FDA ban on the use of the antibiotic Baytril in poultry production. The decision was made in order to reduce the danger presented by the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Evo in the news: Evolution and the avian flu
This news brief, from November of 2005, describes the threat of avian flu. The stage is set for this virus to evolve into a strain that could cause a deadly global pandemic.

Evo in the news: Tracking SARS back to its source
This news brief, from January of 2006, traces the source of the SARS virus. Using phylogenetics, biologists have come up with a plausible path of transmission which may help us prevent future outbreaks of diseases such as HIV, SARS, and West Nile virus.

Evo in the news: Evolutionary evidence takes the stand
This news brief, from January of 2007, describes the role of phylogenetic evidence in a Libyan court case. Six medical workers have been convicted of injecting children with HIV-tainted blood - but the evolutionary history of the virus paints a different picture.

Evo in the news: A chink in HIV's evolutionary armor
Medical researchers have spent billions of dollars and many decades trying to develop an HIV vaccine but have, thus far, failed. Why is an HIV vaccine so elusive? This news brief from March 2007 explains how HIV's rapid rate of evolution challenges medicine and describes a new discovery that may allow vaccine developers to sidestep that evolution.

Evo in the news: Another perspective on cancer
This news brief, from October of 2007, describes the evolutionary underpinnings of cancer. Recognizing cancer as a form of cellular evolution helps explain why a cure remains elusive and points the way toward new treatments.

Evo in the news: Evolution from a virus's view
This news brief from December 2007 describes a new virulent strain of the common cold and examines how and why virulence evolves.

Parasites and pathogens take the leap
Diseases like SARS, HIV, and West Nile Virus may be new to humans, but they are old news to other species. These and other emerging infectious diseases have recently added humans to the list of hosts they infect. An evolutionary perspective can help us better understand and, we hope, control this problem.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Evo in the news: Superbug, super-fast evolution
Methicillin-resistant staph infections now contribute to more US deaths than does HIV. This news brief from April of 2008 explains the quirks of bacterial evolution that make them such a threat.

Evo in the news: Ghosts of epidemics past
HIV and malaria both constitute global health threats, respectively affecting more than 30 million and 200 million people worldwide. This news brief from October 2008 describes new research that reveals an unexpected evolutionary link between the two.

Evo in the news: HIV's not-so-ancient history  Advanced
First described in 1981, HIV is a distinctly modern disease. But for how long before its discovery did HIV lurk unnoticed in human populations? This news brief from November 2008 describes new research offering insight into when (and how) HIV got its start.

Battling bacterial evolution: The work of Carl Bergstrom
This research profile examines how the scientist Carl Bergstrom uses computer modeling to understand and control the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals.

Interview: Massimo Pigliucci on evolution's importance to society
This interview with State University of New York professor Massimo Pigliucci reveals some surprising applications of evolutionary theory: from treatment of human disease, to forensics, to software engineering.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Evo in the news: Fighting the evolution of malaria in Cambodia
This news brief from December 2009 focuses on one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases: malaria. Malaria is normally treatable, but now some strains are evolving resistance to our most effective drug. Find out how researchers and doctors are trying to control the evolution of the disease.

Evo in the news: The evolutionary history of jogging
This news brief from March 2010 describes a new fitness trend: barefoot running. Though it might sound like just another fitness fad, soon to go the way of hula-hoops or jazzercise, this trend has a surprising connection to evolution.

Evo in the news: Spreading disease on evolutionary timescales
Most infectious diseases that we are familiar with are passed from human to human; however, on evolutionary timescales, pathogens don't necessarily respect species boundaries. This news brief from November 2010 examines a recently discovered case of disease swapping among species involving a deadly strain of malaria.

Relevance of evolution: Medicine
Explore just a few of the many cases in which evolutionary theory helps us understand and treat disease. Bacterial infections, HIV, and Huntington's disease are highlighted.

Evolution: Applications in human health and populations  Advanced
In a series of six lectures, scientists describe how evolutionary theory makes contributions to the field of human health through studies of the human genome, physiology, lifestyle, and interaction with the environment.
This resource appears at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center website.

Evolutionary medicine
This excerpted chapter from Carl Zimmer’s book, The Tangled Bank, describes how evolutionary biology informs and advances medical science. Reprinted with the permission of Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.

Evo in the news: An antibiotic that exploits evolutionary history
In October 2011, the World Health Organization announced that tuberculosis cases are on the decline for the first time in at least 20 years. Our battle against this ancient disease has been fought, in part, through the use of antibiotics like streptomycin. This news brief describes the 1.8 billion year evolutionary history behind these drugs.

Evolution connection: DNA replication
This short slide set explains the fidelity of DNA replication in evolutionary terms. Save the slide set to your computer to view the explanation and notes that go along with each slide.

Using trees to uproot HIV: The work of Satish Pillai  Advanced
This research profile follows scientist Satish Pillai as he studies the evolution of HIV within infected individuals. His research uses the tools of phylogenetics to investigate vaccine development and the possibility of curing the disease.

The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans  Great for students
This 14-minute film describes the connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia - one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.

The Meaning of Genetic Variation
Students investigate variation in the beta globin gene by identifying base changes that do and do not alter function, and by using several internet-based resources to consider the significance in different environments of the base change associated with sickle cell disease.

Evo in the News: When fighting leukemia, evolutionary history matters  Advanced
This news brief, from December 2011, describes how evolutionary history can factor into the success of a bone marrow transplant.

Evo in the news: Influenza, an ever-evolving target for vaccine development
Some vaccines provide lifelong protection with one or a few doses, but the flu requires a new shot every year. And in some years, the flu shot is hardly effective at all. Why is the flu vaccine different from so many other vaccines? This news brief from February 2013 provides the evolutionary explanation.

Evo in the news: The recent roots of dental disease
This news brief from March 2013 describes new research suggesting that human dietary changes associated with the invention of agriculture and the Industrial Evolution caused an epidemic of tooth decay and gum disease. This link between diet and oral health is an example of a mismatch to modernity — a case in which a disease results from a modern lifestyle feature that our lineage has not experienced during the course of its evolutionary history.

Evo in the news: Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
This news brief from May 2013 describes research showing that a large percentage of the meat in supermarkets is contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. An evolutionary perspective explains how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.