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Evolutionary Response to Human Infectious Diseases

George J. Armelagos and John R. Dewey
BioScience
Vol. 20, No. 5 (Mar. 1, 1970), pp. 271-275
DOI: 10.2307/1295204
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1295204
Page Count: 5
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Evolutionary Response to Human Infectious Diseases
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Abstract

The role of infectious diseases as a selective agent in human evolution increased dramatically with the Neolithic Revolution. The changes in ecological balance with an increase in population size and density were factors in this change. As a consequence of selection, genetic factors providing immunity to infectious disease increased. Recent advances in preventing and controlling infectious diseases have, in some cultures, shifted in emphasis to degenerative diseases and problems of overpopulation.

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