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June 29, 1970

Biology of Populations: The Biological Basis of Public Health

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Ind

JAMA. 1970;212(13):2269. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170260065029

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Medical personnel may be initially uninterested in population studies of moths, rodents, and bees. But through other population studies, the mysteries of sickle cell anemia and bacterial drug resistance vanished. It is essential that we understand why a population should be considered as more than a sum of the characteristics of its members.

In preparing this book, the authors compiled a series of lectures. The four areas of study are ecology, genetics, behavior, and disease. The book introduces some of the methods used in population research and adds as examples certain advances in this field. Although the book is primarily a textbook, needing a lecturer's interpretation, it is clearly written and supplemented with pertinent graphs and illustrations.

There is a need for those in private practice to understand population dynamics and control. Public health officers, also, may profit from a consideration of basic research methods. I recommend it to everyone