Does microchimerism mediate kin conflicts?

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Date Published:

May 8


Fetal microchimerism (FMc) is predicted to promote the fitness of the fetus and maternal microchimerism (MMc) to promote the fitness of the mother. Offspring and mothers benefit from each other's health. Therefore, microchimeric cells should usually not be harmful to their host. However, the evolutionary interests of mothers and offspring diverge when there is competition among siblings for maternal investment. Fetal cells in mothers' bodies could benefit their own offspring at the expense of its sibs by promoting lactogenesis or by extending the interbirth interval. Maternal cells in fetal bodies could benefit from the suppression of sibling rivalry. Non-inherited haplotypes in MMc or sibling microchimerism (SMc) gain no direct benefit from their hosts' health and could be associated with substantial detrimental effects.


Haig, DavidENG2014/05/09 06:00Chimerism. 2014 May 8;5(2).

Last updated on 09/16/2015