Last week, our promotion talked about all the gifts you got from your mother – mitochondria, antibodies, nutrients, and oxytocin were the ones highlighted. In this week’s newsletter, we’ll delve more in-depth into the very first presents you ever received.
It’s not that your dad’s sperm cells didn’t have mitochondria in them, it’s just that they never made it past fertilization. These organelles have their own DNA because back in the day (way back), mitochondria were actually little single-celled prokaryotes. They were engulfed, but not eaten, by a larger cell and put to work for all eternity. These days, aside from the menial task of turning sugar into energy, mitochondria are used to trace ancestral lineages along the maternal line.
Before the discovery of antibiotics and vaccines, pandemics plagued humanity. Smallpox is a great example of one. This disease would sweep through villages, killing or scarring its inhabitants. Like clockwork, smallpox would come back every other generation. This is thanks to maternal antibodies passed on to the babies. Of course, this is a one time gift, not one that keeps on giving. So, the next time smallpox came around and the village was once again full of unprotected people, the killing or scarring would happen all over again.
You didn’t need to breathe or eat in utero, because just like those lunch boxes your mom packed, she provided you with everything you needed to grow. Her blood, via the placenta, delivered oxygen, sugar, amino acids, and other necessary nutrients for you to go from a few-celled being to a functional human baby. Since what goes in must come out, the placenta is also responsible for processing your waste products.
Technically speaking, your mom was a stranger to you the day you were born and vice versa. But thanks to the hormone, oxytocin, your bond was instant. This hormone, produced by the hypothalamus is responsible for those warm fuzzies that you get when you hug mom. And dad too. Evolutionarily speaking, oxytocin was incredibly important in that it kept families together and prevented parents from abandoning their babies. Without this hormone, who knows if we’d be here today.
Happy Mother’s Day!
This mother’s day, give your mom a gift that probably won’t quite add up to the ones she gave you, but hey, it’s the thought that counts right. Shop our atelier for any of the science-y stuff that would be perfect for moms everywhere.
written by Science with Evie