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Placentation in Marsupials

Part of the Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology book series (ADVSANAT,volume 234)

Abstract

It is sometimes implied that marsupials are “aplacental,” on the presumption that the only mammals that have a placenta are the eponymous “placental” mammals. This misconception has persisted despite the interest in and descriptions of the marsupial placenta, even in Amoroso’s definitive chapter. It was also said that marsupials had no maternal recognition of pregnancy and no placental hormone production. In addition, it was thought that genomic imprinting could not exist in marsupials because pregnancy was so short. We now know that none of these ideas have held true with extensive studies over the last four decades definitively showing that they are indeed mammals with a fully functional placenta, and with their own specializations.

Keywords

  • Marsupial
  • Tammar wallaby
  • Placenta
  • Yolk sac
  • Trophoblast
  • Endometrium
  • Diapause
  • Inflammation
  • Transcriptome
  • Omphalopleure
  • Genomic imprinting
  • ALID

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Acknowledgments

We thank our many students and colleagues who have contributed to our new understanding of the marsupial placenta and all members of the Walgroup. We thank the late Dr Gordon Lyne for the bandicoot neonate images; Dr Stephen Frankenberg for the dunnart neonate images and Dr Brandon Menzies for the swamp wallaby neonate images.

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Correspondence to Marilyn B. Renfree .

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Renfree, M.B., Shaw, G. (2021). Placentation in Marsupials. In: Geisert, R.D., Spencer, T. (eds) Placentation in Mammals. Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology, vol 234. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-77360-1_4

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