Summary Of Survival Of The Sickest By Sharon Moalem

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The book Survival of the Sickest was written by Sharon Moalem, an evolutionary biologist and neurogeneticist. Dr. Moalem earned his PhD is Human Physiology, specializing in neurogenetics, from the University of Toronto. He earned his MD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Moalem is the author of three books: Survival of the Sickest, How Sex Works, and Inheritance. Dr. Moalem’s research emphasized bringing together evolution, genetics, and modern medicine to revolutionize how we understand and treat diseases. Moalem’s interest in genetics, and particularly neurogenetics, stems from a personal connecting: both he and his grandfather have hemochromatosis and his grandfather was diagnoses with Alzheimer when Moalem was a teenager. …show more content…

Throughout the entire book Moalem tries to explain as to why certain damaging, heritable diseases still exist even though, as they are damaging to modern population, logically should be selected against during evolution. He argues that we need disease: so many diseases are still around today because at some point in history, each was beneficial to the survival success of our ancestors in their environment. Moalem includes an introduction in which he describes how and why he became interested in the medical sciences: it was a combination of both natural curiosities that he has had since childhood and the prevalence of genetic disease in his family that he was visible to when younger. The introduction also serves as a way for Moalem to easily express his true love for both science and discovering the mysteries to life and …show more content…

My problem with this book stems from the fact that Moalem is generalizing that all diseases exist because of this pattern and to those without any background in biology or genetics, it seems to be a very clear reasoning. However, those with a more extensive background can see that the evidence in Survival of the Sickest is rather cherry picked and only selecting disorders that fit (he could also discuss sickle cell and other hemoglobin disorders in this book and be accurate in his hypothesis); however, Moalem ignores that many diseases have no beneficial effect but rose in one founder and spread because of inbreeding, and they exist in the population still because they are autosomal recessive and are not strong enough to be selected against (i.e. Tay Sachs in Hasidic Jews). Moalem incorrectly uses and expands a theory that only explains a few

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