• Question: how do diseases evolve?

    Asked by liamster6000 to Shannon, Katherine, James on 13 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Shannon Fullbrook

      Shannon Fullbrook answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      Diseases which are caused by tiny organisms evolve due to genetic changes in the organisms DNA, organisms adapt, like we did millions of years ago, to a new environment and this adaptation is caused by small changes in their DNA which allows them to survive better in the new environment.

      If the tiny organism can survive better then it can become more dangerous and can cause diseases which are alot worse then before hand

    • Photo: James Brown

      James Brown answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      Different diseases in different ways (some just in us and others that we can pass on to our children), mainly though mutations (changes) in our DNA (some good, some bad).

      If you’re talking about cancer, each cancer can evolve when they are able to gain an advantage (usually though mutation) that allows them continue to grow when they should die (either naturally or by overcoming an anti-cancer drug).

    • Photo: Katherine Benson

      Katherine Benson answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      There are lots of ways to answer this, but in terms of genetics, some tiny micro-organisms which cause disease evolve by acquiring changes in their genome. These changes can help them to gain abilities (like in a computer game, when you get a new skill or weapon). The new abilities might mean that they can now evade our immune system longer, or attach to a new part of the human body, which means that when we are infected with the micro-organism the disease we get is different and possibly more serious.