Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

Life's Vital Link: The Astonishing Role of the Placenta

Tells the fascinating story of a vital, yet little understood, organ
Considers how and why such an organ evolved
Explores the nature of the placenta, and the important role it plays for both the mother and foetus
Highlights remarkable aspects of evolution, development, and genetics
Addresses what can go wrong when the placenta does not develop properly

By: YW Loke (Author)

264 pages, 20 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | May 2013 | #201149 | ISBN-13: 9780199694518
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $21/€19 approx

About this book

The development of the placenta was a pivotal event in evolution. Without it, we would still be laying eggs instead of giving birth to live offspring. It represents the critical link between the foetus and the mother, but its character is extraordinary – it is, in effect, a foreign tissue that invades the mother's body. Compared to many other animals, the human placenta represents a particularly aggressive body. But how is it managed and controlled? How did such an organ evolve in the first place? And why is it tolerated by the mother? Y.W. Loke, a highly respected expert in the placenta and its development, explores the nature of the placenta and what it can tell us about evolution, development, and genetics.


1: After the Afterbirth
2: In the Beginning
3: The Principal Players
4: Parental tug-o-war
5: Connecting with Mother
6: Nature's Transplant
7: Essential Products
8: Gateway
9: Journeys End

Further Reading

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Professor Y. W. Loke of King's College Cambridge, is a highly respected expert in the placenta and its implantation and development. He has published widely in academic journals.

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