Reproduction is the process whereby organisms pass on their genetic information to the next generation. Reproductive strategies are highly varied and success is measured not only by the number of offspring produced but also the reproductive success of the next generation
Mammals (and some cartilaginous fish and reptiles) have evolved a strategy whereby fertilised eggs are retained inside the female, the embryo receives nourishment from the mother via a placenta and the offspring a born alive.
Further maternal resources in the form of milk are exclusively provided by the mother alongside high quality maternal care. This intimate and bidirectional relationship between the mammalian mother and her offspring increases the chances of offspring surviving to adulthood to reproduce but places a substantial burden on the mother. Direct nurturing by the mother also creates an excellent opportunity for exploitation both by the offspring she carries and cares for, and by the male parent. While these adaptations have led to the global success of mammals, they are also linked to highly common pregnancy complications which impact the health of the mother, her offspring and, in some cases, her offspring's offspring.
This meeting will cover establishment of the mammalian germline, embryonic and placental development and common pregnancy complications finishing with a lively debate on the evolution of pregnancy led by invited speakers.
There meeting will include the Genetics Society Medal talk by Professor Robin Lovell-Badge (CBE, FRS FMedSci).