The Trans-generational Influence of Maternal Care on Offspring Gene Expression and Behavior in Rodents
This chapter reviews a large body of recent research showing that variations in maternal care patterns of laboratory rats and mice can alter the behavior, reproductive development, neuroendocrine responsiveness to stress, and maternal care patterns of the offspring, as mediated by alterations in gene expression. The findings show that maternal care exhibits a high degree of plasticity in response to environmental conditions and that the quality of the environment is conferred to offspring by the level of care received. It also suggests that the epigenetic effects reviewed in this chapter may influence evolutionary processes through multiple mechanisms.
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