04 November 2016
The evolution of pregnancy
Dr Camilla Whittington investigates the evolution of pregnancy, and how the complex placenta has evolved independently in many different species to transport large quantities of nutrients to the fetus. Camilla will compare the placenta transport mechanisms of critical nutrients, such as amino acids, lipids and carbohydrates in mammals, reptiles and fish. She will then identify the genes specific to this nutrient transport and those common across all three species.
This work will provide a glimpse into evolutionary history and make a quantum leap in understanding how complex traits evolve. Camilla’s work will also provide knowledge for understanding fetal malnutrition and disease by demonstrating how the placenta transports nutrients to embryos. Having this breakthrough information will be significant for the scientific world but also the broader community.