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Biomedical science has little considered the relevance of life history theory and evolutionary and ecological developmental biology to clinical medicine. However, the observations that early life influences can alter later disease risk--the "developmental origins of health and disease" (DOHaD) paradigm--have led to a recognition that these perspectives can(More)
Cellular commitment to a specific lineage is controlled by differential silencing of genes, which in turn depends on epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modification. During early embryogenesis, the mammalian genome is 'wiped clean' of most epigenetic modifications, which are progressively re-established during embryonic development.(More)
That there is a heritable or familial component of susceptibility to chronic non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease is well established, but there is increasing evidence that some elements of such heritability are transmitted non-genomically and that the processes whereby environmental influences act during(More)
Developmental plasticity in response to environmental cues can take the form of polyphenism, as for the discrete morphs of some insects, or of an apparently continuous spectrum of phenotype, as for most mammalian traits. The metabolic phenotype of adult rats, including the propensity to obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperphagia, shows plasticity in(More)
The Lancet has rightly drawn attention to the goals of reducing the burden of maternal and childhood undernutrition, focusing mainly on short-term outcomes such as infant survival and stunting. However, the longer term eff ects on adult health of a poor start to life suggest a further perspective. Developmental eff ects have been viewed traditionally in the(More)
Most early evolutionary thinkers came from medicine, yet evolution has had a checkered history in medical education. It is only in the last few decades that serious efforts have begun to be made to integrate evolutionary biology into the medical curriculum. However, it is not clear when, where (independently or as part of preclinical or clinical teaching(More)
An appreciation of the fundamental principles of evolutionary biology provides new insights into major diseases and enables an integrated understanding of human biology and medicine. However, there is a lack of awareness of their importance amongst physicians, medical researchers, and educators, all of whom tend to focus on the mechanistic (proximate) basis(More)
Life history theory proposes that early-life cues induce highly integrated responses in traits associated with energy partitioning, maturation, reproduction, and aging such that the individual phenotype is adaptively more appropriate to the anticipated environment. Thus, maternal and/or neonatally derived nutritional or endocrine cues suggesting a(More)