It may well have been a coincidence that the announcement of the ‘breaking’ of the human genetic code and the publication of an editorial on psychiatry and Darwinism in the Journal occurred within the same week, but it is to be hoped that both of these events signal a new beginning. Abed (2000) asks whether the time has come for psychiatry to reconsider Darwinism: in fact, one could argue that if psychiatry as a science is to survive, there is no other option. Since its first publication in 1859, Darwin's evolutionary theory has transformed our understanding of the living world. The model has stood the test of time despite heavy resistance by religious groups, exploitation by Fascism and enthusiastic misinterpretation. The proliferation of papers on the subject in scientific journals over the past 30 years strongly suggests that it is here to stay. Evolutionary psychology has already established itself (Barkow et al, 1995). In contrast, only a few articles have been published by psychiatric journals, and evolutionary theory is largely ignored in psychiatric training worldwide.