Life's Vital Link: The astonishing role of the placenta

OUP Oxford
Free sample

The development of the placenta was a pivotal event in evolution. Without it, we would still be laying eggs instead of giving birth to live offspring. It represents the critical link between the foetus and the mother, but its character is extraordinary — it is, in effect, a foreign tissue that invades the mother's body. Compared to many other animals, the human placenta represents a particularly aggressive body. But how is it managed and controlled? How did such an organ evolve in the first place? And why is it tolerated by the mother? Y.W. Loke explores the nature of the placenta and what it can tell us about evolution, development, and genetics.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Professor Y. W. Loke, Fellow of King's College Cambridge, is a highly respected expert in the placenta and its implantation and development. He has published widely in academic journals.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
Read more
Collapse
Published on
May 24, 2013
Read more
Collapse
Pages
256
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780191653117
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Medical / Reproductive Medicine & Technology
Science / General
Science / Life Sciences / Developmental Biology
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Recent decades have witnessed an explosion of theoretical and empirical studies of sex allocation, transforming how we understand the allocation of resources to male and female reproduction in vertebrates, invertebrates, protozoa, and plants. In this landmark book, Stuart West synthesizes the vast literature on sex allocation, providing the conceptual framework the field has been lacking and demonstrating how sex-allocation studies can shed light on broader questions in evolutionary and behavioral biology.

West clarifies fundamental misconceptions in the application of theory to empirical data. He examines the field's successes and failures, and describes the research areas where much important work is yet to be done. West reveals how a shared underlying theoretical framework unites findings of sex-ratio variation across a huge range of life forms, from malarial parasites and hermaphroditic worms to sex-changing fish and mammals. He shows how research on sex allocation has been central to many critical questions and controversies in evolutionary and behavioral biology, and he argues that sex-allocation research serves as a key testing ground for different theoretical approaches and can help resolve debates about social evolution, parent-offspring conflict, genomic conflict, and levels of selection.


Certain to become the defining book on the subject for the next generation of researchers, Sex Allocation explains why the study of sex allocation provides an ideal model system for advancing our understanding of the constraints on adaptation among all living things in the natural world.

Sexual reproduction is a fundamental aspect of life. It is defined by the occurrence of meiosis and the fusion of two gametes of different sexes or mating types. Sex-determination mechanisms are responsible for the sexual fate and development of sexual characteristics in an organism, be it a unicellular alga, a plant, or an animal. In many cases, sex determination is genetic: males and females have different alleles or different genes that specify their sexual morphology. In animals, this is often accompanied by chromosomal differences. In other cases, sex may be determined by environmental (e.g. temperature) or social variables (e.g. the size of an organism relative to other members of its population). Surprisingly, sex-determination mechanisms are not evolutionarily conserved but are bewilderingly diverse and appear to have had rapid turnover rates during evolution. Evolutionary biologists continue to seek a solution to this conundrum. What drives the surprising dynamics of such a fundamental process that always leads to the same outcome: two sex types, male and female? The answer is complex but the ongoing genomic revolution has already greatly increased our knowledge of sex-determination systems and sex chromosomes in recent years. This novel book presents and synthesizes our current understanding, and clearly shows that sex-determination evolution will remain a dynamic field of future research. The Evolution of Sex Determination is an advanced, research level text suitable for graduate students and researchers in genetics, developmental biology, and evolution.
A brilliant, cutting-edge exploration of the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases and the controversial, potentially groundbreaking therapies that scientists are developing to correct these disorders

Whether it is asthma, food or pollen allergies, type-1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? Science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff explains the latest thinking about this problem and explores the remarkable new treatments in the works.

In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance. The idea that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem.

This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy. In the future, preventive treatment—something as simple as a probiotic—will necessarily begin before birth.

An Epidemic of Absence asks what will happen in developing countries, which, as they become more affluent, have already seen an uptick in allergic disease: Will India end up more allergic than Europe? Velasquez-Manoff also details a controversial underground movement that has coalesced around the treatment of immune-mediated disorders with parasites. Against much of his better judgment, he joins these do-it-yourselfers and reports his surprising results.

An Epidemic of Absence considers the critical immune stimuli we inadvertently lost as we modernized, and the modern ills we may be able to correct by restoring them. At stake is nothing less than our health, and that of our loved ones. Researchers, meanwhile, have the good fortune of living through a paradigm shift, one of those occasional moments in the progress of science when a radically new way of thinking emerges, shakes things up, and suggests new avenues of treatment. You’ll discover that you’re not you at all, but a bustling collection of organisms, an ecosystem whose preservation and integrity require the utmost attention and care.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.