Catalogue


The evolution of the human placenta /
Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin.
imprint
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.
description
266 p.
ISBN
1421406438 (hdbk. : alk. paper), 9781421406435 (hdbk. : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
added author
imprint
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.
isbn
1421406438 (hdbk. : alk. paper)
9781421406435 (hdbk. : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction. The evolutionary biology of placenta -- History of placental investigations -- The challenges of live birth -- Comparative mammalian placentation -- The evolution of human placenta -- Sex -- Genes, genetic regulation and retroviruses from the past -- Placenta as a regulatory organ -- Modern gestational diseases -- Summary and conclusions.
catalogue key
8653256
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [231]-253) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin are researchers at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington, D.C. Together they authored The Evolution of Obesity, also published by Johns Hopkins.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-07-01:
At first consideration, a book about the human placenta might seem to be of interest primarily to specialists. But Power and Schulkin (both, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; coauthors, The Evolution of Obesity, CH, Nov'09, 47-1461) ably demonstrate that placental evolution touches on many current themes in evolutionary biology. While the specifics are not always totally known, there are tantalizing clues as to how the placenta, mainly through the production of hormones and other signaling molecules, is involved in gene imprinting, maternal-fetal and maternal-paternal conflict, and the fetal origins of adult disease. Because the placenta connects a genetically distinct mother and fetus, its interaction with the immune system receives considerable attention, including a provocative but still untested hypothesis to explain humans' high rate of pregnancy loss. This hypothesis is just one example of the authors' use of evolutionary medicine to explain today's gestational maladies. They also consider placental anatomy and convincingly argue that unique aspects of the human placenta are not tied to either humans' bipedal locomotion or large brain. While there is much to recommend this book, the writing is somewhat inconsistent in terms of an intended audience, and more illustrations would have been useful. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. Stinson emerita, CUNY Queens College
Reviews
Review Quotes
This reveals the importance of this organ for individuals and the species as a whole, and is recommended for science and health holdings alike.
Superb, well written, and engaging-the authors effectively integrate the biology, anthropology, genetics, and history of the various discoveries.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The development of a fully functional placenta was crucial to the evolution of human beings. It is the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms: a mother and her fetus. The Evolution of the Human Placenta discusses everything from the organ's methods of protecting the fetus from the mother's own immune system to placental diseases. Starting with some of the earliest events that have constrained or influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings, in terms of evolution, are a successful, rapidly multiplying species. Our reproductive physiology would appear to be functioning quite well. However, human gestation is fraught with many poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be-if not unique-far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet quite typical in humans. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta, and in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's earliest moments.
Main Description
As the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms, a mother and her fetus, the placenta is crucial to human evolution and survival. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore the more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta and, in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's first moments. Starting with some of the earliest events that have influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings are a successful species and our numbers have increased dramatically since our earliest days on Earth. However, human fetal development is fraught with poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus which appear to be, if not unique, far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet not unusual in humans. Power and Schulkin explain why this apparent contradiction exists and address such topics as how the placenta regulates and coordinates the metabolism, growth, and development of both mother and fetus, the placenta's role in protecting a fetus from the mother's immune system, and placental diseases. In the process, they reveal the vital importance of this organ-which is composed mostly of fetal cells-for us as individuals and as a species.
Main Description
As the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms, a mother and her fetus, the placenta is crucial to human evolution and survival. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore the more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta and, in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of human life's first moments. Starting with some of the earliest events that have influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings are a successful species and our numbers have increased dramatically since our earliest days on Earth. However, human fetal development is fraught with poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be, if not unique, far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet not unusual in humans. Power and Schulkin explain why this apparent contradiction exists and address such topics as how the placenta regulates and coordinates the metabolism, growth, and development of both mother and fetus, the placenta's role in protecting a fetus from the mother's immune system, and placental diseases. In the process, they reveal the vital importance of this organ-which is composed mostly of fetal cells-for us as individuals and as a species.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The History of Placental Investigationsp. 24
The Evolution of Live Birth in Mammalsp. 50
Comparative Mammalian Placentationp. 73
The Evolution of the Human Placentap. 96
Sex and the Placentap. 119
Genes, Genetic Regulation, and the Placentap. 138
The Placenta as a Regulatory Organp. 163
Modern Gestational Challengesp. 196
Conclusionp. 223
Referencesp. 231
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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