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Mothers, molecules, and mortality: the imprint of social relationships across the life course in wild baboons

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Field studies of natural primate populations present a powerful opportunity to investigate the social and ecological determinants of health and fitness using fine-grained observations of known individuals across the life course. Here, I will summarize our emerging understanding of this process in the wild baboons of the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya, emphasizing the insights provided by integrating behavioral and molecular data. I will review the strong evidence that early life adversity, social status, and affiliative ties in adulthood are central to life outcomes. I will then discuss how, by integrating genomic methods with longitudinal behavioral observations, we have been able to identify sex-specific signatures of social interactions and evidence for biological embedding via changes in DNA methylation. Together, our findings connect classical life course perspectives on primate behavior and life history with changes in gene regulation “under the skin.” They thus illustrate the increasing potential to understand our study subjects at both the whole-organism and molecular levels, even under field conditions.



Jenny Tung (MPI Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig)

Journey Description


E - Main Entrance/Reception
1 - Managing Board; sections: Infection Biology Unit, Unit of Infection Models, Laboratory Animal Science Unit, Primate Genetics Laboratory, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit, Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, Neurobiology Laboratory, Research Coordination, Public Relations, Information Technology, Administration, Technical Support, Library.
2 - Material Delivery/Purchase
3 - Platform Degenerative Diseases
4 - Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
5 - Animal Husbandry
6 - Imaging Center, Functional Imaging Laboratory

Arrival by car

Leave the interstate A7 at exit "Göttingen Nord". Follow the B27 straight ahead in the direction of "Braunlage". After the third traffic light intersection turn right towards "Kliniken". Afterwards turn left onto "Robert-Koch-Straße" direction "Universität Nordbereich/Polizei". At the end of "Robert-Koch-Straße" turn right onto "Otto-Hahn-Straße", direction "Nikolausberg". The first street on the left turn onto "Kellnerweg", follow the signs "Deutsches Primatenzentrum".

Arrival by bus

The footpath from the bus stop "Kellnerweg" to the Main Entrance/Reception: 
From Bus stop "Kellnerweg" (line 21/22 and 23) Cross the road, go in the direction of the bus. At the mailbox, turn left into the footpath and proceed to the end. Turn right into the Kellnerweg. The main entrance of the DPZ is on the left side.

Date and Time 08.06.23 - 15:00 - 16:30 Signup is not required

Location Michael-Lankeit-Hörsaal, DPZ


Leibniz ScienceCampus

Contact Dr. Christian Schloegl
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