Developmental plasticity and human health

  title={Developmental plasticity and human health},
  author={Patrick Bateson and David J. P. Barker and Tim H. Clutton‐Brock and Debal Deb and Bruno D'udine and Robert A. Foley and Peter D. Gluckman and Keith M. Godfrey and Tom B. L. Kirkwood and Marta Miraz{\'o}n Lahr and John McNamara and Neil B. Metcalfe and Pat Monaghan and Hamish G. Spencer and Sonia E. Sultan},
Many plants and animals are capable of developing in a variety of ways, forming characteristics that are well adapted to the environments in which they are likely to live. In adverse circumstances, for example, small size and slow metabolism can facilitate survival, whereas larger size and more rapid metabolism have advantages for reproductive success when resources are more abundant. Often these characteristics are induced in early life or are even set by cues to which their parents or… 

The biology of developmental plasticity and the Predictive Adaptive Response hypothesis

In resolving the conflict, distinctions should be drawn between PARs induced by normative variations in the developmental environment and the ill effects on development of extremes in environment such as a very poor or very rich nutritional environment.

Developmental Plasticity in Child Growth and Maturation

The window of developmental plasticity extends from conception to early childhood, and even beyond to the transition from juvenility to adolescence, and could be transmitted transgenerationally.

Early-Life Hormesis and Oxidative Experiences Fine-Tune the Adult Phenotype

This chapter discusses the central role of maternal sexual or stress hormones in fine-tuning the redox physiology of progeny and provides evidence in favour of a role of oxidative stress as a universal proximate mechanism underlying the trade-off between growth strategy and self-maintenance.

The role of developmental plasticity and epigenetics in human health.

It is argued that indifference to the importance of developmental plasticity as an important factor in influencing later life health-particularly within the medical and public health communities-is low, and that this indifference cannot be sustained in light of the growing understanding of developmental processes and the rapid rise in the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disease globally.

Developmental Plasticity, Epigenetics and Human Health

Early-life epigenotyping may find utility as a prognostic marker of metabolic dysfunction for identification and treatment of at-risk individuals and may have implications for the perpetuation of ill-health.

Early growth conditions, phenotypic development and environmental change

  • P. Monaghan
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2007
This paper outlines how the different paradigms applied in this field relate to each other, the main predictions that they produce and the kinds of experimental data needed to distinguish among competing hypotheses, and examines evidence from mechanistic and functional avian studies.

Developmental plasticity and its relevance to assisted human reproduction

Until more is known about the effectiveness and safety of ART for the broader indications in which ART is currently used, caution in using ART is mandatory.

Environmental influences during development and their later consequences for health and disease: implications for the interpretation of empirical studies

To conduct research in this area, developmental plasticity must be disentangled from disruption and the adverse long-term effects of coping, and ways in which such distinctions may be made in practice are explored.

Developmental Epigenomics and Metabolic Disease

The developmental origins of later life metabolic disease in humans particularly with respect to early life under- and overnutrition are focused on and there is growing evidence that epigenetic marks—and hence possibly disease risk—may be transgenerationally transmitted via non-genomic pathways of inheritance.

The thrifty phenotype as an adaptive maternal effect

  • J. Wells
  • Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2007
This article argues that the thrifty phenotype is the consequence of three different adaptive processes ‐ niche construction, maternal effects, and developmental plasticity ‐ all of which in humans are influenced by the authors' large brains.



Fetal experience and good adult design.

  • P. Bateson
  • Art
    International journal of epidemiology
  • 2001
The form and behaviour of individuals vary within the same species and, in any given set of environmental conditions, some individuals may be better able to survive and reproduce than others because their distinctive characteristics are particularly well suited to those conditions.

The Evolutionary Maintenance of Alternative Phenotypes

  • N. Moran
  • Biology, Psychology
    The American Naturalist
  • 1992
Polyphenism may be restricted to circumstances in which the developmental switch occurs during very early development, and the abundance of seasonal polyphenisms in multivoltine organisms suggests that where environments are favorable, developmental systems are often flexible enough for the establishment of simple polyphenism.

Commentary: The promise of ecological developmental biology.

  • S. Sultan
  • Biology
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution
  • 2003
A second recently emerged discipline that can profoundly enrich the authors' understanding of the evolutionary process and of biological diversity, as well as of development itself is discussed.


A mathematical life‐history model of dynamic resource allocation that shows that the evolutionary hypothesis is plausible and identifies two factors, both likely to exist, that favor this conclusion.

Ecological developmental biology: developmental biology meets the real world.

  • S. Gilbert
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Developmental biology
  • 2001
This essay reviews some of the areas of ecological developmental biology, concentrating on new studies of amphibia and Homo.

Potential mechanisms of metabolic imprinting that lead to chronic disease.

This review synthesizes a subset of human epidemiologic and experimental animal studies that suggest that early nutrition affects susceptibility to chronic diseases in adulthood, and proposes a working definition of metabolic imprinting.

Lifespan: Catch-up growth and obesity in male mice

It is found that limiting growth during the postnatal period of growth not only increases longevity but also protects against the life-shortening effect of an obesity-inducing diet later on.

Compensation for a bad start: grow now, pay later?

The Ecology and Evolution of Inducible Defenses

  • C. Harvell
  • Biology
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1990
An integrated approach to studying inducible defenses would combine mechanistic estimates of costs, population-level estimates of defense effectiveness, and genetic estimates of correlations between fitness and inducibles characters to estimate rates of evolution in phenotypically plastic threshold characters.

Fetal origins of hyperphagia, obesity, and hypertension and postnatal amplification by hypercaloric nutrition.

This study is the first to demonstrate that profound adult hyperphagia is a consequence of fetal programming and a key contributing factor in adult pathophysiology.