There is a new “developmental” model for the origins of a wide range of chronic diseases. Under this model the causes to be identified are linked to normal variations in fetoplacental development. These variations are thought to lead to variations in the supply of nutrients to the baby that permanently alter gene expression, a process known as “programming.” According to the developmental model variations in the processes of development program the function of a few key systems that are linked to disease, including the immune system, antioxidant defenses, inflammatory responses, and the number and quality of stem cells.
*MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK;
†Moore Institute and Heart Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.
Correspondence: David J.P. Barker, MD, PhD, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Mail Point 95, Southampton General Hospital, SO16 6YD, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org