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San Diego Hosts Talks On Evolution And Medicine

October 13, 2016 1:12 p.m.

San Diego Hosts Talks On Evolution And Medicine

GUEST:

Ajit Varki, co-director, Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny

Related Story: San Diego Hosts Talks On Evolution And Medicine

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

What can the very beginning of human existence tell us about health and medicine? That is a focus of the latest symposium at UC Center go. It is a study of human origins. Is now part of standard medical school training. Joining me is Ajit Varki , co-director, Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny . Welcome to the program.
My pleasure.
It is an interesting question. It turns out it is not anything to do with social, political, religious practice. It is in the history of medical curriculum. As medicine is emerging and blending was sirens in the early part of the 20 century, the evidence for evolution is very limited. By the time evolution was completed in the 50s and 60s in many of our DNA it was too late to get the curriculum.
You are giving a talk on human specific diseases. Do we know why some are transmittable between species and some are not?
Yes, the evidence is trying to emerge and the details are not quite clear. It is detail that some humans can get and some not.
Do we share the same diseases with chimps?
You would think that the diseases should be very similar and yet as I mentioned tomorrow the type of heart attacks we get are different than the ones they get. Several diseases that are very unusual in chimpanzees and their common as.
How are the heart attacks and chimps and humans different?
The human heart attack is called -- you get a block in your arteries and they block of your blood vessels. The chimpanzees they get the strangest these where they get scarring of the heart muscle. To their two ministries. Why don't we get the diseases that they get and why don't they get the diseases we get? All the SUSAR trying to figure out why there apes are dropping dead of these strange diseases.
What do you hope it can bring to medicine?
At the end of the day, nothing makes sense except in the site of evolution. So it is like sort of thing I'm not going to apply chemistry to medicine. It is a basic science. It ranges all the way from infectious disease to diabetes to heart attacks to Alzheimer's disease and to cancer. So it is fundamental science that needs to be incorporated. The symposium is an effort to get that kind of thing started and happening all across the country.
The symposium on that imprecations of anthropology will be held tomorrow afternoon at the San Diego campus. I have been speaking to Ajit Varki, co-director, Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny . Thank you so much.
Thank you very much. My pleasure.