Evolution, developmental plasticity, and metabolic disease

Christopher W. Kuzawa*, Peter D. Gluckman, Mark A. Hanson, Alan S. Beedle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Early-life events influence late life health. An adverse early environment changes the developing organism's metabolism, physiology, and organ structure to increase risk of adult metabolic disorders, including the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Early environmental cues initiate functionally coherent adjustments that alter energy-partitioning and modify nutritional requirements. When maternal nutritional and endocrine cues predict future environmental conditions, developmental and metabolic responses to these cues could provide a mechanism for fine-tuning responses to local environmental conditions. However, individuals faced with scarcity early in life are now increasingly confronted with abundance later in life, and the resulting mismatch between the environment early and late in life is an important contributor to patterns of human morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEvolution in Health and Disease
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191728167
ISBN (Print)9780199207466
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Developmental origins
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Mismatches to modernity
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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