Leptin leads to hamster baby boom

Known for its role in regulating appetite, the hormone may help mother hamsters determine how much energy to invest in offspring

By Jenny Lauren Lee, 18:22 PM August 25, 2009

Pregnant mommas must make a tough choice: preserve energy for themselves or invest it in their little ones. Now new research suggests that higher levels of the hormone leptin may fool a hamster’s brain into thinking there is energy to spare, promoting larger litters at the expense of the mother’s health. Researchers report the results in an upcoming Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“I think the findings are compelling,” comments behavioral biologist Randy Nelson of Ohio State University ...

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