Twinning propensity and offspring in utero growth covary in rural African women


Rickard, IJ; Prentice, AM; Fulford, AJC; Lummaa, V; (2012) Twinning propensity and offspring in utero growth covary in rural African women. Biology letters, 8 (1). pp. 67-70. ISSN 1744-9561 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.0598

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Abstract

In humans and other mammals, some females are more likely to experience twin pregnancies than others, but the reasons behind such individual variation are poorly understood. One hypothesis invokes variation in the dynamics of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system, which also regulates foetal growth. Using data from a rural African population living in a highly seasonal environment, we test a novel prediction generated by this hypothesis, that maternal twinning status predicts offspring birthweight. We found that among singleton offspring who experience a favourable in utero environment (born January-June), births before and after twins are, respectively, associated with a 134.07 g and 226.41 g increase in birthweight compared with those born to non-twinning mothers. These results were not mediated by maternal anthropometry. This is consistent with a role for the IGF system in individual variation in twinning propensity, a possibility with implications for understanding mechanisms of life-history variation in humans and other vertebrates.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 21831878
Web of Science ID: 299322200021
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/27798

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