Synergies between the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease framework and multiple branches of evolutionary anthropology Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis derives from the epidemiological and basic/mechanistic health sciences. This well-supported hypothesis holds that environment during the earliest stages of life-pre-conception, pregnancy, infancy-shapes developmental trajectories and ultimately health outcomes across the lifespan. Evolutionary anthropologists from multiple subdisciplines are embracing synergies between the DOHaD framework and developmentalist approaches from evolutionary biology. Even wider dissemination and employment of DOHaD concepts will benefit evolutionary anthropological research. Insights from experimental DOHaD work will focus anthropologists' attention on biochemical/physiological mechanisms underpinning observed links between growth/health/behavioral outcomes and environmental contexts. Furthermore, the communication tools and wide public appeal of developmentalist health scientific research may facilitate the translation/application of evolutionary anthropological findings. Evolutionary Anthropology, in turn, can increase mainstream DOHaD research's use of evolutionary theory; holistic, longitudinal, and community-based perspectives; and engagement with populations whose environmental exposures differ from those most commonly studied in the health sciences.

publication date

  • September 2020