Echoes of Early Life: Recent Insights From Mathematical Modeling

Willem E. Frankenhuis*, Daniel Nettle, John M. McNamara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
225 Downloads (Pure)


In the last decades, developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) has emerged as a central framework for studying early-life effects, that is, the impact of fetal and early postnatal experience on adult functioning. Apace with empirical progress, theoreticians have built mathematical models that provide novel insights for DOHaD. This article focuses on three of these insights, which show the power of environmental noise (i.e., imperfect indicators of current and future conditions) in shaping development. Such noise can produce: (a) detrimental outcomes even in ontogenetically stable environments, (b) individual differences in sensitive periods, and (c) early-life effects tailored to predicted future somatic states. We argue that these insights extend DOHaD and offer new research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1518
Number of pages15
JournalChild Development
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


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