Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution

– Th. Dobzhansky, 1973

Dobzhansky’s astute observation is the truism for most of the medicine today. While we humans are visually different from other organisms, there is unity of life at the genetic level. Nucleic acids that make up the DNA and RNA and the transcription process are universal. Almost all organisms have the same 20 amino acids that make the enzymes; the proteins that run the cellular processes. Cellular metabolism that gives us life is universal. The key processes that drive life are remarkably conserved over the evolutionary history and the biochemical species involved in these processes are orthologous across the species including humans. When these cellular processes work in balance, we are healthy. When they malfunction or suffer from a loss of homeostasis, we get the diseases. Nature and thus the organisms produce endogenous metabolites that are designed to intervene, repair and restore the homeostasis or function of an individual protein. These endogenous metabolites, the Orthologous Molecular Structures (OMS), are incredibly powerful as they embody nature’s ingenuity that humans can’t match. When correctly identified and leveraged, these OMS can make smart combination drugs that “know” which diseases pathways need the correction – the efficacy of the drug – and which housekeeping functions need to be left alone – the safety of the drug.  Most of mankind has used this knowledge empirically giving rise to traditional botanical medicines. We leverage this knowledge of evolutionary biology with modern tools to identify OMS quickly and turn them into highly effective first-in-class drugs for complex diseases.

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