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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)
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)
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)
Evolutionary and developmental perspectives add considerably to our understanding of the aetiology of obesity and its related disorders. One pathway to obesity represents the maladaptive consequences of an evolutionarily preserved mechanism by which the developing mammal monitors nutritional cues from its mother and adjusts its developmental trajectory(More)
to classic evolutionary explanations for the rise of these conditions. In its brief history, the field of evolutionary medicine has developed the elegant principle that a beneficial genetic adaptation to one environment can lead to disease when environments change rapidly, as has occurred with recent rapid cultural change (Neel 1962; Eaton and Konner 1985).(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)