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Perspectives on human health and disease from evolutionary and behavioral ecology

Strassmann, BI; Mace, R; (2010) Perspectives on human health and disease from evolutionary and behavioral ecology. In: UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

Patients are phenotypes; thus all medical conditions are a product of genes and the environment. One genotype can produce many phenotypes depending on the environments encountered. Such phenotypic plasticity promotes reproductive success by creating a better fit between the genotype and the environment. Evolutionary insights into kin selection, life history, parental investment, and sexual selection help us to understand: the origins of child abuse and homicide in step-families; deadbeat dads; attachment disorders; failure to thrive; female infanticide; excess male mortality from accidents, suicide, and disease; risky behaviour; immunosuppression; reproductive cancer; marital violence; and genital cutting. Many of these problems reflect reproductive conflicts of interest between individuals. Other conflicts occur within individuals and involve life history trade-offs. Conflicts of interest within and between individuals constrain natural selection, and prevent an optimal world wherein adaptation is maximized at all levels simultaneously.

Type:Book chapter
Title:Perspectives on human health and disease from evolutionary and behavioral ecology
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.003.0009
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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