Abstract of article in Science (7 Sep 2001,
Humans as the World's Greatest Evolutionary Force
by Stephen R. Palumbi
In addition to altering global ecology, technology and human
population growth also
article available on site in PDF; click here.
affect evolutionary trajectories, dramatically accelerating evolutionary
other species, especially in commercially important, pest, and
disease organisms. Such
changes are apparent in antibiotic and human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) resis-
tance to drugs, plant and insect resistance to pesticides, rapid
changes in invasive
species, life-history change in commercial fisheries, and pest
adaptation to biological
engineering products. This accelerated evolution costs at least
$33 billion to $50
billion a year in the United States. Slowing and controlling
arms races in disease and
pest management have been successful in diverse ecological and
illustrating how applied evolutionary principles can help reduce
the impact of human-
kind on evolution.
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EDITORIAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE PRESENTATION
This article contains the details of Palumbi's many references
to our ongoing battles, mainly between bacteria and antibiotics,
insects and insecticides, and the role of natural selection,
both as a cause of these battles, and as a possible solution
to dealing with the conflicts.
Some key points made in the convention presentation:
- Global health policies which IGNORE evolution will FAIL.
Costs of dealing with staph infections in hospitals alone
run $33-50 billion per year!
- Flu vaccines: predicting fastest mutating receptor sites results
in the best vaccines.
- Evolution is FAST.
- We DO have an effect on evolution.
- We MUST recognize the existence and impact of evolution, especially
Doctors, Farmers, Genetic Technologists, Public Health Workers,
Social Workers, Teachers; ANYONE ELSE who interacts with human
beings, including Lawyers, Business Leaders, Government Leaders