Date Published:Aug 7
Retroviruses are often expressed in the placenta. Placental expression probably evolved to facilitate retroviral transmission from mother to offspring and from offspring to mother. In the process, the placenta became a site where retroviral genes were 'domesticated' to serve adaptive functions in the host, including the manipulation of maternal physiology for the benefit of the fetus. The evolutionary interplay between retroviruses and host defenses may have contributed to the remarkable diversity of form among mammalian placentas and to mechanisms of genomic imprinting.
Haig, DavidengReviewEngland2012/08/11 06:00Curr Biol. 2012 Aug 7;22(15):R609-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.06.002.