Effects of Intrauterine Position in Litter-Bearing Mammals

John G. Vandenbergh

in Maternal Effects in Mammals

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226501192
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501222 | DOI:
Effects of Intrauterine Position in Litter-Bearing Mammals

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This chapter examines the influence of intrauterine position on the behavior of litter-bearing mammals. It reviews evidence that hormones from the mother, from exogenous hormone mimics, and from adjacent fetuses in the uterus can have profound effects on the behavior and physiological development of offspring. This chapter suggests that the intrauterine position of fetuses can have significant developmental consequences because males produce relatively high concentrations of testosterone in the prenatal period that can be transferred either through fetal membranes or the maternal circulation to adjacent siblings. The chapter also discusses the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying hormone transfer between fetuses.

Keywords: intrauterine position; litter-bearing mammals; fetuses; testosterone; adjacent sibling; fetal membranes; maternal circulation; neuroendocrine mechanisms; hormone transfer

Chapter.  10352 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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