Guiding Development – Lessons from Mammalia
This presentation looks at milk and the potential impact it might have on the breast itself in the regulation of mammary development and function. There is a strong interest milk factors that have the potential to drive the development of tissues.
Kevin Nicholas gives a detailed explanation of his team’s work, covering the evolution of lactation and the comparative genomics of lactation in the wallaby, opossum, echidna, platypus, mouse, cow, seal and human. He examines the changes in milk composition and asks if these changes are important for the development of the young in these mammals.
The next step is to see if this knowledge can help in the care of premature/very low birth weight babies by identifying factors which can accelerate development and/or reprogramme the onset of disease in later life, particularly in the gut and lung. Comparative genomics of lactation provides new opportunities to exploit the evolution of lactation and better identify regulatory mechanisms which may lead to finding novel milk bioactives. This may lead to the creation of a human fortifier to target tissue development with minimal impact on general growth.