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Evolution of genomic imprinting in humans: Does bipedalism have a role?

Isles, Anthony Roger ORCID: 2009. Evolution of genomic imprinting in humans: Does bipedalism have a role? Trends in Genetics 25 (11) , pp. 495-500. 10.1016/j.tig.2009.09.010

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Recent studies have indicated that genomic imprinting is less conserved in human placenta and fetuses than in mice. Studies in mice confirm evolutionary predictions that imprinted genes have an important role in fetal growth via their effects on placental function, nutrient demand and transfer. Here, I argue that the development of bipedalism in humans might have contributed to a reduced role for imprinted genes in fetal growth. As a consequence of bipedalism, the shape of the human pelvis has changed, leading to a reduced gestation period and smaller ‘premature’ babies. This overarching selective pressure could, in turn, lead to a relaxation of the silencing of those imprinted genes that reduce fetal growth, a prediction borne out by current data.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0168-9525
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 10:48

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