The observation that adult health can be affected by conditions experienced early in life has gained much attention in biology and medicine. Evolutionary thinking has influenced the interpretation of these phenomena, and inspired recommendations about how adverse outcomes can be prevented. Unfortunately, much of evolutionary theory is more limited in this respect than is often acknowledged. I will explain why, and point towards methods and conceptual advances in evolutionary biology that are likely to be more useful for understanding and predicting adverse health outcomes of early life conditions.
Tobias Uller is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Lund University, Sweden. He received his PhD from the University of Gothenburg in 2004. Following three years of postdoctoral research in Australia, he moved to the University of Oxford, first as a Departmental Lecturer and later as a Royal Society University Research Fellow. He remained in Oxford until 2015, when he moved permanently to Lund as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow.