Research Topic

Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Growth and Development

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About this Research Topic

Evolutionary interest in human growth and development from the embryo to the adolescent has a long history dating back to the earliest evolutionists, including Darwin, Haekel, and Weismann. The topic continues to fascinate the scientific imagination and though birth marks a fundamental transition in the ...

Evolutionary interest in human growth and development from the embryo to the adolescent has a long history dating back to the earliest evolutionists, including Darwin, Haekel, and Weismann. The topic continues to fascinate the scientific imagination and though birth marks a fundamental transition in the environment of the developing child, increasing evidence underscores the close relationship between pre- and post-natal growth and development, and their long-term impact on the rest of the life cycle. Sophisticated technological methods have enhanced the ability to monitor development events in utero and to study the physiology of childhood growth in naturalistic settings, including cross-culturally. At the same time the development of life history theory offers a conceptual tool by changes in the timing of critical events that can be predicted in response to variation in environmental variation, as well as the consequences of such changes for the development of different physiological systems.

Thus, this Research Topic aims to bring together researchers from evolutionary biology, endocrinology and anthropology to provide an up to date perspective on the evolution of human growth and development, whether at the genetic, cellular physiological, systems and/or organismal level. In addition to contributions focusing on results derived from work in the laboratory, those focusing on comparisons at either the population or species level are welcome, as well as more speculative attempts to directly address the evolutionary history of human childhood growth and development. Therefore, this Research Topic will accept Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Reviews, and Perspective articles.

Finally, authors must also be aware that due to the broad nature of this Research Topic they must primarily ensure that their manuscripts closely fit the scope of the section and journal they are submitting to before considering the scope of the topic. Any out of scope submissions may be subject to transfer or rejection.

The following themes will be covered in this collection:
1. Life history theory
2. Life history theory in understanding growth disorders
3. Evolutionary strategies for body size
4. Evolutionary Perspectives on the Development of Obesity
5. Evolutionary History of Hominid Pre-adult life history Stages
6. Energetic Constraints on Pre-Natal and Post Natal Development
7. Epigenetic Effects in Childhood Growth and development/ Nutrition, epigenetics, and programming in early life
8. Human growth and developmental programming
9. Population Variation in Childhood Growth and Its Determinants
10. Population Variation in Prenatal Growth and Its Determinants
11. Patterns of Brain Development vs. Somatic Growth
12. Trade-offs between immune development and somatic growth
13. Thrifty genotypes and antagonistic pleiotropy
14. Evolution of the endocrine system - hormones and their receptors
15. Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD)
16. The secular trends in growth and development
17. Plasticity in developmental programming


Keywords: Human Development, Life History Theory, Evolution, DOHaD, Human Growth


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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