Fetal growth restriction

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The role of homeobox genes in fetal growth restriction

Prof Shaun Brennecke, Dr Padma Murthi, Dr Bill Kalionis 

The placenta is an organ that supplies nutrients and oxygen to the baby throughout pregnancy. The placenta must develop properly and function efficiently to ensure the proper growth of the unborn baby. The continued expression of important genes that control growth and development of the placenta is vital to ensure that the baby reaches the optimal birthweight and size. Failure to do so results in fetal growth restriction (FGR). During normal growth, genes of the homeobox family control the formation of the placenta. In small-for-dates babies, it is thought that these genes are not properly expressed, leading to abnormal placental development that may affect the welfare of the unborn baby. The aim of this work is to identify which homeobox genes have altered expression in small-for-dates babies.

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