Maternal Nutrition and Risk of Obesity in Offspring: The Trojan Horse of Developmental Plasticity
Parlee, S. D., & MacDougald, O. A. (2014). Maternal nutrition and risk of obesity in offspring: the Trojan horse of developmental plasticity. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1842(3), 495506. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.07.007


Mammalian embryos have evolved to adjust their organ and tissue development in response to an atypical environment. This adaptation, called phenotypic plasticity, allows the organism to thrive in the anticipated environment in which the fetus will emerge. Barker and colleagues proposed that if the environment in which the fetus emerges differs from that in which it develops, phenotypic plasticity may provide an underlying mechanism for disease. Epidemiological studies have shown that humans born small- or large-for-gestational-age, have a higher likelihood of developing obesity as adults.

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