A University of Utah scientist who studies how microbes evolve with their hosts — human bodies — has received one of the nation’s most prestigious awards: A MacArthur Fellowship, often called a “genius grant.”
Nels Elde, an evolutionary geneticist at the U., is one of 21 people — a group that includes writers, scientists, sociologists, a property law scholar and a documentary filmmaker — who were picked for their creativity, their track record and their potential to produce more creative work. Each gets a cash prize of $625,000, paid over five years, no strings attached, funded by the John D. and Catherine
The evolutionary fitness book written by Arthur DeVany got its roots more than 10,000 years ago. After studying our Paleolithic ancestors and their activity patterns, DeVany concluded that in terms of our genetic makeup, we’re still hunters and gatherers. Many scientists agree that our genetic makeup has developed and evolved over millions of years, and because biological evolution moves at a glacial pace, our genes have been largely unchanged over the last 10,000 years.
What DeVany calls Evolutionarily Elegant Design, economizes on processes and energy, which are dependable at the high and variable energy flows like that of our active ancestors, but go askew at the low energy slump typical of a modern, dormant individual. Many of the common metabolic disorders that plague society today, such as obesity or diabetes, are a result of these design compromises. These disorders are rare among hunter-gatherers and were not part of the human … Read More