Survival of the sickest : a medical maverick discovers why we need disease


Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease by Sharon MoalemSurvival of the sickest, by Sharon Moelem

Although filled with conjectures and hypotheses, this book does provide a fascinating glimpse into the current state of evolutionary biology. I got from this book a real sense that there is a lot underlying connectedness between various diseases and genetic and environmental factors that remains undiscovered, but which has been the source of speculation for ages.

Ch.1. Ironing it out

Hemochromatosis is an inherited disease in which the body continues to load up on iron because the mechanism regulating iron has broken down. The suggestion is that natural selection is maintaining this genetic defect because it had conferred some benefit in the past.

The body has several mechanisms that lock down access to iron because infectious bacteria thrive on iron. At first it would seem that people with hemochromatosis would be at an additional risk from infections because bacteria would multiply rapidly becauseā€¦

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