Microchimerism: Baby DNA Found in Mom

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Baby’s Cells Can Manipulate Mom’s Body for Decades

by Viviane Callier/Smithsonian.com

Mothers around the world say they feel like their children are still a part of them long after they’ve given birth. As it turns out, that is literally true. During pregnancy, cells from the fetus cross the placenta and enter the mother’s body, where they can become part of her tissues.

Now a team of biologists argues that to really understand what microchimerism does to moms, we need to figure out why it evolved in the first place.

“What we are hoping to do is not only provide an evolutionary framework for understanding how and why microchimerism came to be, but also to assess how this affects health,” says lead author Amy Boddy, a geneticist at Arizona State University.

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