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Practical Applications of Evolutionary Biology

Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace's concept of natural selection and descent with modification helped shape the theory of evolution which holds as much weight as the theory of relativity per se. Evolutionary biology is the science devoted to understanding how populations change through time in response to modifications of their environment and how new species come into being by studying adaptation and diversity (Freeman and Herron 2004). Evolutionary biology has proved that all organisms have evolved from a common ancestor over the last 3.5 billion years. There is a common misconception that evolution is only a theoretical or abstract science with little or no relevance to the real world (Halliburton, 2004). This common misperception arises because most people assume that all the important scientific questions about evolution have already been answered. Some think that this is a science that only deals with history or the study of fossils, whereas creationists even dispute the reality of evolution. Some perceive it as a threat to the foundation of organized religion making evolution appear controversial and taboo. Biological evolution is one of the most important concepts of modern biology and is essential to understanding key aspects of living organisms in the past, present and future. Evolutionary biology also offers alternative solutions to problems in medicine and agriculture while providing insight and answers on how to deal with the problem of antibiotic exploitation occurring within these fields.

Studying medical problems in an evolutionary context has been coined "Darwinian medicine." This way of studying medicine asks why our bodies are designed how they are and how this makes people susceptible to differen...

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...y 16, 2004 from http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/relevance/IApathogens.shtml

Freeman, Scott, & Herron, J.C. 2004. Evolutionary Analysis 3rd ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ, pp. 4.

Halliburton, R. 2004. Evolutionary Biology (Essay 1) Class Handout. Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT.

Millis, D.M., (1999) Predictive Evolution. Science. 286, 1866-1867

Refuges of Genetic Variation: Controlling Crop Pest Evolution (2004) Retrieved February 16, 2004 from http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/relevance/IICrefuges.shtml

*Credits for online sources:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/credits.shtml

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