The Human Placenta Project

Nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution

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Like all biological structures, the placenta is the outcome of a historical evolutionary process. Thus, in order to understand the development, structure, and (dys)function of the placenta we must reconstruct the developmental evolutionary history of the maternal-fetal interface. The NICHD Human Placenta Project covers a wide breadth of research topics, but a noticeable gap is the lack of evolutionary studies that explicitly aim to inform human placental biology and medicine through the lens of evolution (ie evolutionary medicine). This lack of focus means that the HPP is missing opportunities to understand how placental (dys)function originates and how this knowledge may inform a deeper mechanistic understanding of the placenta and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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Idea No. 74