Speaker: Dr. Stephen Suomi
Title: Behavioral, biological, and epigenetic consequences of early social experiences in monkeys.
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It is now well-established that the type of early social attachment relationships rhesus monkey infants form with their caregivers can have dramatic behavioral, biological, and epigenetic consequences throughout development. Recent research has focused instead on the consequences of being raised by mothers who differ in their social dominance status. There are major differences in both social opportunities on a daily basis and long-term physical and psychological health outcomes between offspring of high vs. low-ranking mothers, and it appears that relative social dominance status is generally transmitted from mothers to their female offspring, i.e., high-ranking mothers typically rear daughters who themselves are high-ranking, at least initially, and low-ranking mothers usually have daughters who turn out to be low-ranking themselves. Very recent data suggest that such cross-generational transmission of relative dominance status may be in part epigenetically mediated through the placenta.
The serotonin transporter gene is a substrate for age and stress dependent epigenetic regulation in rhesus macaque brain: potential roles in genetic selection and gene × environment interactions.