Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Evolution in Health and Disease$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen C. Stearns and Jacob C. Koella

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 November 2019

Intimate relations: Evolutionary conflicts of pregnancy and childhood

Intimate relations: Evolutionary conflicts of pregnancy and childhood

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter 6 Intimate relations: Evolutionary conflicts of pregnancy and childhood
Source:
Evolution in Health and Disease
Author(s):

David Haig

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.003.0006

This chapter surveys the impact of evolutionary conflicts on maternal and fetal health in pregnancy and childhood. Some adaptations that have evolved to benefit mothers may be costly to offspring and vice versa, for natural selection can act at cross-purposes on maternal and fetal genes. For example, the typical duration of lactation in our evolutionary past was suboptimal for offspring fitness. Communication between mothers and fetuses is compromised by evolutionary incentives to send misleading signals. Mothers have evolved mechanisms for testing offspring and terminating investment in offspring of low perceived quality. Offspring have evolved features that reduce their chances of failing these tests. When fetal genes manipulate maternal physiology to increase the flow of maternal blood through the placenta, pre-eclampsia may result. The unusually large fat deposits of human babies may have provided a store of structural lipids and energy, for growth and maintenance of the infant brain.

Keywords:   parent-offspring conflicts, pre-eclampsia, spontaneous abortion, infant growth, fat

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .