We have built a world that no longer fits our bodies. Our genes - selected through our evolution - and the many processes by which our development is tuned within the womb, limit our capacity to adapt to the modern urban lifestyle. There is a mismatch. We are seeing the impact of this mismatch in the explosion of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But it also has consequences in earlier puberty and old age. Bringing together the latest scientific research in evolutionary biology, development, medicine, anthropology and ecology, Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson, both leading medical scientists, argue that many of our problems as modern-day humans can be understood in terms of this fundamental and growing mismatch. It is an insight that we ignore at our peril.
Professor Peter Gluckman FRS has received international recognition for his work on fetal life. He is University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Paediatrics and Perinatal Biology, and Director of the Liggins Institute for Medical Research and the Natinal Center for Growth and Development, at the University of Auckland. He has received numerous international awards, including the Rutherford medal (the premier award of the Royal Society of New Zealand), and is president of the Internatinoal Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. He also chairs the WHO working group in optimizing fetal development. Professor Mark Hanson is probably the UK's leading perinatal scientist. He directs the Centre for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease at the University of Southampton, and is an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Honorary professor at the University of Auckland. He is secretary of the International Society of Developmetnal Origins of Health and Disease, and is an exhibilted artist with an interest in the conjunction between art and science. Both authors have published many scientific papers and reviews, including articles written together. Their previous books include The Fetal Matrix: Evolution, Development and Disease (CUP, 2004).