Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

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For the Week Ending July 14, 2019. 

The Human Cell Atlas

As part of the Human Cell Atlas, the undertaking to map all of the cells in a healthy human body, The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is funding projects to define all of the cell types in the female reproductive tract and all of the genes expressed in the testes. Read more here and here.

This is important for you because knowledge is power.

Get a room

Bonobos – apes closely related to chimps (and us) – live in matriarchal societies where females wield most of the social status. Daughters generally leave their birth groups, while sons stay close to mom. One effect of this proximity is that moms promote their sons’ sex lives, even chasing away other males so their own sons get to copulate (and pass on their genes by providing them with grandchildren). Read more here.

This is important for you because if anyone ever accuses you of being a helicopter mom – you’ve got nothing on these bonobos. 

Snowplow parenting

Helicopter parenting is so five minutes ago. Now there are snowplow parents: those who clear the path for their children, removing any and all obstacles in their way – so they never learn how to deal with any obstacles themselves. Read more here.

This is important for you because tempting as it is – who wouldn’t want to smooth the way for their child? – DON’T DO THIS!! It is not in your baby’s best interest. She needs you to teach her how to navigate the world on her own, and guess what – the world has obstacles.

Cassandra Extravour

It had long been thought that most animals formed their germ cells – eggs in females and the sperm-making testis in males – early on in their own development. After all, that’s how most lab animals do it; only mice seemed different, forming germ cells later. But lab animals are hardly representative of the animal kingdom. As a postdoc, Cassandra Extravour did a comprehensive literature search of different organisms to determine that the more common method of germ cell development is later, like in mice. She has since based her career on exploring the evolution and development of reproductive systems in all types of animals. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is the beginning of the story – we can’t know how life develops without knowing how eggs and sperm do.

The most important article on The Pulse this week was President Trump’s Policies on Pregnancy. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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