Bringing up a science

The lack of research in evolutionary biology in India is a matter of concern The marginalisation of research and education in evolutionary biology in India has justifiably been a matter of concern for some time. Evolutionary biology is important in understanding multi-drug resistance in microbes, for instance. The Nipah virus outbreak, which was traced to the habitat destruction of fruit bats, is also a study in ecology and evolutionary biology.

A group of evolutionary biologists have recently established the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists (ISEB). This is a significant development because the ISEB hopes to not just bring together practitioners and senior researchers from the field, but also aims to reach members of the public and get them to engage with the mission of the Society. Talks and activities for students have been planned. “If India wishes to effectively leverage scientific understanding to address problems of public health, environment, agriculture and societal breakdowns, it cannot be done without greatly enhancing our appreciation of the importance of an evolutionary perspective in attacking these problems,” says Mr. Joshi, a member of the ISEB.

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