Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas
Developmental plasticity and human reproductive function: The devil is in the details
Population-based studies have documented significant variation in reproductive maturation and function among diverse human groups in relation to the socio-ecological environments in which they live. Data on the influence of pre- and post-natal nutritional status on different human reproductive traits indicates that energetic conditions during development influence levels of adult gonadal endocrine function, its regulation and its sensitivity to energetic stress. In this talk I will review what we know (and don´t) about developmental plasticity of human reproductive function, analyze its impact on current epidemiological and demographic trends and highlight the contribution of an evolutionary viewpoint to our understanding of such patterns, particularly in the context of rapidly changing socio-economic and ecological systems worldwide.
Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora received her Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from University College London, UK for her work in the effects of childhood development on human reproductive function. Her research focuses on the application of evolutionary anthropology to reproductive and health issues combining field and laboratory methodologies. She is interested in the effects of early development on health across the life-course and on the bio-cultural and social determinants of human well-being. She is currently Associate Professor at the Institute of Psychological Research, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico where she heads a multidisciplinary project to investigate the seasonal and long-term effects of agricultural practices on food security, reproductive ecology and child and maternal health in a rural community in Eastern Mexico.