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Are we really evolving?



As humans, we pride ourselves on being the most successful race to have competed with the entire animal kingdom. Though we believe this to be true, at times our actions are often inconsistent with the level of evolution we would have had to undergo to be as capable as we claim to be. Most people believe that the process of evolution spans thousands of years, and that our ability to evolve is a slow process. However, numerous biologists have confirmed that the entire process of evolution can happen at a surprisingly rapid pace.

Upon reflection, it is understandable why a lot of people assume that evolution is a process that takes a lot of time to develop. Mutations formed in genomes, which are essentially the genetic makeup of an organism usually take some time before they appear to be present in individuals. This could be the reason people believe that evolution is a long process and would take years to impact us humans. When it comes to the other side of debate, scientists have identified one of the gene variants that predisposes people to Alzheimer’s disease, and have discovered that this has become uncommon in people that are older. This news is groundbreaking, and impacts everything we know about the field of Genetics. These genes don’t seem to have a direct impact on childbearing. As Alzheimer patients generally only start having symptoms far after their reproductive years, this supports the fact that the mutation shouldn’t be selected against when it comes to natural selection. The idea of mutations correlating with diseases extends far beyond Alzheimer’s. In fact, scientists have noticed that a similar link has been established between other severe diseases such as high cholesterol, high body mass index and coronary artery disease which all seem to be receding in terms of commonality. So what does this mean, and how does this help us understand the true evolution of what we already know? This small link serves as a gateway to new realms of information we have yet to explore regarding this broad topic. If a link has been established between the evolution of genes in response to certain health factors and diseases, we can expect that scientists might find a crucial link to other conditions, such as how our bodies tend to cope with auto-immune diseases, or even Cancer. For many years we have never even come close to understanding the true nature of cancer and how our body has evolved to combat this aggressive condition. With this new knowledge, scientists can start to draw parallels and comparatively contrast the diseases we have yet to fully understand.

This profound information has opened numerous doors in the field of medicine, and has created a platform for researchers to set a base-line and identify what this means for the human race, both in the present and the future,. By drawing on the past, it will be easier to establish the true nature of evolution and why our cells do what they do when it comes to defence, protection or attack methods. No matter the tense debate regarding if evolution has already started to play a part in our current day to day or not, the fact of the matter remains that we cannot deny the evolution of science as a whole, and as humans, a race so intrinsically connected to this entire concept, it is ironic that we are confused and blissfully unaware of the new path science will progress towards.


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Simran Prasad

Comment Editor 2017/18

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