Advances in Population 3 by Lawrence J. Severy

By Lawrence J. Severy

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The challenge for fertility research is to understand not only the extent and pattern of variation in human genes contributing to fertility outcomes, but how the expression of those genes is moderated over the life course in response to a broad range of environmental influences. A further challenge is to recognize the broad range of genetic influences that may affect fertility outcomes, from those that affect the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term, to those that may affect sexuality, sexual orientation, the desire for parenthood and investment in children.

Demonstrate different flavors of this perspective. Even the Severy chapter arguing for the joining of acceptability to clinical trials of contracep- Page xv tive efficacy can be seen as reflective of the 'marriage' of biological and social factors. As for some of the thematic 'constants', the old axiom that 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' is perfectly relevant for this third volume. Both of us remain interested in the study of couples, the importance of accounting for data from both partners, female and male roles, and the way in which couples come to fertility decisions.

Decisions to trade quantity of births for quality of investment in children reflect technological advances that provide high payoffs for human capital investment (Becker 1993; Kaplan 1996), while high levels of human capital investment by populations lead to further technological developments. One might also imagine that decisions to have many, some or no children might be rooted in genetic variation in psychological predispositions towards nurturance and affiliation, and might therefore affect the composition of future populations with respect to those traits.

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