Document Detail

Morning sickness: adaptive cause or nonadaptive consequence of embryo viability?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18500939     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
"Morning sickness" is the common term for nausea and vomiting in early human pregnancy (NVP). Recent interest in why NVP occurs-that is, in the evolutionary costs and benefits of NVP-has spurred the development of two alternative hypotheses. The "prophylaxis," or "maternal and embryonic protection," hypothesis suggests that NVP serves a beneficial function by expelling foods that may contain harmful toxins and microorganisms and triggering aversions to such foods throughout pregnancy. The alternative "by-product" hypothesis suggests that NVP is a nonfunctional by-product of conflict--over resource allocation--between the pregnant woman and the embryo. The critical predictions of the prophylaxis hypothesis have been developed and tested, whereas the by-product hypothesis has not been subjected to similar scrutiny. To address this gap, we developed a graphical model and used it to derive predictions from the by-product hypothesis under two different assumptions, namely, that NVP is either (i) a by-product of current conflict between a pregnant woman and an embryo or (ii) a by-product of honest signals of viability produced by the embryo. Neither version of the by-product hypothesis is fully consistent with available data. By contrast, the timing of NVP, its variation among societies, and associated patterns of food cravings and aversions are consistent with the prophylaxis hypothesis.
Samuel M Flaxman; Paul W Sherman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American naturalist     Volume:  172     ISSN:  1537-5323     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. Nat.     Publication Date:  2008 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-06-16     Completed Date:  2008-10-27     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2984688R     Medline TA:  Am Nat     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  54-62     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Models, Biological
Morning Sickness / metabolism*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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