Journal article

Fur seal adaptations to lactation: Insights into mammary gland function

JA Sharp, KN Cane, C Lefevre, JPY Arnould, KR Nicholas, GP Schatten (ed.)

CURRENT TOPICS IN DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, VOL 72 | ELSEVIER ACADEMIC PRESS INC | Published : 2006

Abstract

The fur seal (Arctocephalus spp. and Callorhinus spp., members of the pinniped family) is a mammal with the unusual capability to modulate its lactation cycle by turning milk production on and off without the typical mammalian regression and involution of the mammary gland. Lactation has evolved from constraints arising from the spatial and temporal separation of infant nursing and maternal foraging as the mother gives birth and feeds the pup on land while acquisition of nutrients for milk production occurs at sea. The lactation cycle begins with the female fur seal undergoing a perinatal fast of approximately 1 wk, after which time she departs the breeding colony to forage at sea. For the r..

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