Dr. Krishna Dronamraju Delivers the Darwin Lecture at Osmania University

Dr. Dronamraju

HOUSTON: President of the Houston-based Genetics Foundation, Dr. Krishna Dronamraju, recently delivered the Darwin Lecture at Osmania University in Hyderabad. The topic of the lecture is the relationship between disease and evolution. Darwin himself proposed how natural selection acts as a selective agent for maintaining certain diseases and disabilities in human populations. Prof. J.B.S. Haldane pointed out long time ago that resistance to infectious diseases played an important role in human evolution. Certain genomes have survived this selection process. For instance, in several populations, resistance to malarial infection selects certain type of genetic constitutions and these are passed on to future generations. Unfortunately, some of those who don’t die from malaria die from other diseases, such as thalassemia or the sickle cell disease.

It has long been recognized that an important factor in human evolution is the struggle against infectious disease, and more recently, it has been revealed that complex genetic polymorphisms are the direct result of that struggle. As molecular biological techniques become more sophisticated, a number of breakthroughs in the area of host–pathogen evolution have led to an increased interest in this field. From the historical beginnings of J. B. S. Haldane’s original hypothesis to current research, this lecture evaluates infectious diseases from an evolutionary perspective. It provides a survey of the latest information regarding host–pathogen evolution related to major infectious diseases and parasitic infections, including malaria, influenza, and leishmaniasis.

Dr. Krishna Dronamraju is President of the Foundation for Genetic Research in Houston and a Visiting Professor of the University of Paris, France. He has been an Advisor to the U.S. Government’s Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.