Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘pregnancy’

What do nematodes and humans have in common?

Orthologs are genes present in different species that evolved from a common ancestor. While studies have shown the existence of orthologous genes and proteins in C elegans that are associated with diseases in humans, a new study published in Physiological Genomics examined this question as it relates to reproduction. In the new study, researchers identified a whopping 504 genes in C elegans that have yet to be associated with reproduction in humans whereas […]

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Maternal obesity resistance may protect fetus

      Research has shown that high fat diets ingested during pregnancy can impair development of the fetus as well as the placenta. The problem is that these perturbations to normal development can have life-long consequences. A new study published in Physiological Reports was interested in whether the volume of amniotic fluid can change with a high fat diet even when the mother does not develop obesity. To examine this, […]

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The ultimate fathers

On this Father’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to a few of nature’s most ‘devoted’ fathers. Take the emperor penguin for example. If you have ever watched the movie March of the Penguins, or even Happy Feet, then you know these avian fathers are rock stars of parenting. Males are responsible for keeping the eggs warm for two months while the females go away to feed. They do […]

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Pediatric obesity in marmoset monkeys begins in the womb

A new review article published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored an interesting question: how do prenatal experiences along with the intrauterine environment impact the future development of pediatric and adult obesity in animals? Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) are New World monkeys that can spontaneously develop obesity early in life when living in captivity with high food availability and relatively low physical activity. Similar to […]

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Understanding stress-induced miscarriage and premature delivery

  Stress during late pregnancy may result in premature delivery or stillbirth. A new study of pregnant Rambouillet cross ewes, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, was designed to understand why lambs succumb to stress late in pregnancy. They found that while arterial blood pressure and heart rates were normal during late gestation (final 2 weeks before birth) in fetuses from pregnant ewes with elevated stress hormones, fetal heart rate and aortic blood pressure declined on the day […]

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The marsupial placenta

When I think of marsupials, what comes to mind is an image of a mother carrying her young (joey) in a pouch. Contrary to popular belief, however, mother tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) have an internal functioning placenta. Albeit, it only develops near the end of their short pregnancy (a mere 26.5 days), just before the developing offspring moves from the uterus to the pouch for further development and nursing. A […]

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