Genomics of preterm birth

Kayleigh A Swaggart, Mihaela Pavlicev, Louis J Muglia

    Publications: Contribution to bookChapterPeer Reviewed


    The molecular mechanisms controlling human birth timing at term, or resulting in preterm birth, have been the focus of considerable investigation, but limited insights have been gained over the past 50 years. In part, these processes have remained elusive because of divergence in reproductive strategies and physiology shown by model organisms, making extrapolation to humans uncertain. Here, we summarize the evolution of progesterone signaling and variation in pregnancy maintenance and termination. We use this comparative physiology to support the hypothesis that selective pressure on genomic loci involved in the timing of parturition have shaped human birth timing, and that these loci can be identified with comparative genomic strategies. Previous limitations imposed by divergence of mechanisms provide an important new opportunity to elucidate fundamental pathways of parturition control through increasing availability of sequenced genomes and associated reproductive physiology characteristics across diverse organisms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2015

    Publication series

    SeriesCold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine

    Austrian Fields of Science 2012

    • 106012 Evolutionary research


    • Animals
    • Biological Evolution
    • Female
    • Genetic Loci
    • Genomics
    • Humans
    • Models, Animal
    • Parturition/genetics
    • Pregnancy
    • Premature Birth/genetics
    • Progesterone/blood

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