Decoding the genetics of menstruation evolution in primates
The shedding of the superficial endometrium (menstruation) is a recent evolutionary attribute. It occurs only in few placental mammals (including humans and baboons), when in most other mammalian species the endometrium is reabsorbed at the end of the cycle. Scientists can’t explain this mechanism, but it is crucial for understanding gynaecological disorders. The EU-funded EVOMENS project will identify the gene networks and non-coding regulatory elements that control the advent of menstruation in primates. It will apply single-cell transcriptomics and deep transcriptomics to reconstruct the cellular developmental transition occurring in the uterus, model transcriptional dynamics and compare (at the cellular, functional and genetic levels) five primate species. EVOMENS will explain the evolutionary dynamics of the adoption of menstruation making the physiology of human reproduction more legible.
This project will enhance our understanding of a key physiological trait for human reproduction as well as a dramatic example of functional innovation in the primate lineage.