Bringing up baby

Reptile mammal

Mammals and reptiles have different strategies for raising their young. So do scientists.

Basically, it’s a question of risk. You can invest a lot in a very small number of offspring, or you can produce a ton of them but not leave much love to go around*. The former strategy gives that lucky sprog the best possible start, but carries a much higher penalty for the parents if things don’t work out; the latter lessens the damage inflicted by losing one or more offspring, but naturally makes them somewhat more disposable. Bad news if you’re one of the ones that doesn’t make it.

That’s Nature, but the same dynamic gets played out in research labs the world over. Continue reading