Every year, a special feature is published in Proceedings B to highlight an important and emerging field. This year is of particular importance, as 2015 marked the 350th anniversary of publishing at the Royal Society, and the anniversary of our oldest journal Philosophical Transactions. As part of our anniversary celebrations, this year’s special feature was commissioned to cover the significant topic of evolution and genetics in medicine, and was guest edited by Professor Sir Roy Anderson and Professor Brian Spratt, who are both distinguished leaders in this field.
Evolutionary biology and genetics have played an increasingly important role in medicine over the last 100 or so years, with Sir Archibald Garrod explaining the familial distribution of alkaptonuria (a rare recessive genetic disease) using genetic theory in 1902 and JBS Haldane highlighting the selective role of infectious diseases in human evolution in 1949. In this series of articles, the past, present, and future uses of evolutionary biology and genetics in medicine is examined across a wide range of areas. ‘Contributions in this issue provide an exciting reflection on current genetic and evolutionary research which is advancing our understanding of the causes and treatment of disease and infection’ say the guest editors about the special feature.
Articles included in the issue cover a wide range of topics including the use of genome-wide association studies, progress in gene therapy, the evolution and development of the human immune system, cardiac regeneration and viral and bacterial pathogens.
All of the articles in the special feature are open access, making them freely available and widely accessible. Articles can be accessed via the Evolution and Genetics in Medicine special feature on the Proceedings B website.