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ANT208H1 Lecture Notes - Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Menopause, Micronutrient

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Dan Sellen

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ANT208 Lec 6
Growth, Development and Aging
3 things to think about:
o Childhood phase broadly defines and remains from conception to sexual maturity
o Later health issues (Development)
o Process after growth and development -> senescence
Senescence ties in with aging; seems to be pushed to later part of life span
Form framework for health to be created or destroyed
Structure of life history seems to be adaptive
What’s different about humans/ How involve trade-offs with each other?
Tradeoffs in life history: Allocation (making decisions)
o Can grow or reproduce, but not both; can maintain body’s health but come at cost for
growth or reproduction
o Decisions change at each life phase; set of allocations and decisions
1 phase -> childhood; children = key focus of health efforts
o Length of human childhood unusually long; what for?
Realization by economists, politicians, etc.: 1st 1000 days of human life critical for human
o Phases: gestation (time in utero), infancy (time spent dependent nutritionally on
others), early childhood (preschool years) = 1st 1000 days, includes conception
o If good development during this phase, lots of health benefits, income benefits, etc.
o If not, difficult to make up the deficits
o Key transitions
Birth and weaning -> moving from mother’s milk to independent diet
Puberty -> onset of all physiological and behavioural aspects for potential for
sexual reproduction
Growth -> acquisition in size of body parts; development = changes in integration of function
Brain growth and development; brains are important; evolution of human brain due to
importance, eg. Growth of front end -> 1 form of vulnerability in life -> need to protect brain
Another vulnerability -> growth retardation in utero or stunting during early childhood; if fail to
reach genetic height, become stunted individual -> correlated poor outcomes later in life
o 2 vulnerabilities: brain development and physical growth
Mechanisms of Genetic Evolution
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Key of evolution -> changes across evolution; changes in gene freq., changes in proprtions of diff
genes; many factors influencing change
1 produces adaptations, where gene affects phenotype, change bodies in development
Forces can cause evolution, but not adaptive evolution; not all evolution is adaptive
o Some can be random -> gene flow, bottlenecks (animals at island, progeny have diff.
o Can have founder effects, genetic drifts
o Set of factors that produce changes that aren’t adaptive; only things that change
phenotypes are natural selection
o Need to have mutations to add genes; causes variability
o If producing heritable change in phenotype, have natural selection
Evolutionary Medicine
Interested in aspects of human health that are adaptive
Focus on whether life history, do adaptations make sense?
Eg. Humans -> more interesting as compare to other creatures
o Humans live slower and die later than similar-sized mammals, eg. Compared to chimps
o Is this adaptive? Has change been driven by natural selection? What trade offs?
Humans have most relatives; chimps live in diff environment, but key: have diff life history
When did split b/w us and chimps occur? Nobody knows but estimate 5-7 mill. Years
1) standard childhood, 2) early sexual reproduction and menopause, 3) birth closer together
Humans have long nutritional dependency (in shared foraging sense); have long juvenile period
(b/w meaning to sexual reproduction stage); have reduced sexual dimorphism (not lot of gender
diff. b/w males and females); have female post reproductive phase caused by menopause; have
high rate of offspring survival; recruit high amt of shared care; high parental care
Human Life History as tradeoff decision for allocating b/w: Energy, growth, reproduction, activity,
Maintenance , reproduction and energy nutrients for activity
Before sexual maturation, called pre-adult; after occurred, adult
Illustrated shift in allocation decision; pre-adult grows (basically), longer term pay off to get
bigger or grow faster, determines flux of nutrients/energy (not provided), nutrients/ energy
dependent, now vulnerable; cost increases as more unpredictable
Another adaptation -> grow slowly, especially if low nutrient supplies
Ability of adults to extract resources, fuel faster than children
Main thing in phase + growth; when adult phase, 1) extract own nutrients, no parental help, 2)
more decision-making to make, have offsprings w/ demands; diff b/w female and males = sol’n
to children’s demands; body parts look diff; def’n of female = larger investment in offspring from
pre-zygotic phase, produce eggs and gametes -> key fundamental diff
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