This chapter studies intake and growth targets. For clarity, earlier chapters have treated intake and growth targets as static points integrated across a particular period in the life of an animal. In reality they are, of course, not static but rather trajectories that move in time. In the short term, the requirements of the animal change as environmental circumstances impose differing demands for nutrients and energy. At a somewhat longer timescale, targets move as the animal passes through the various stages of its life, from early growth and development to maturity, reproduction, and senescence. On an even longer timescale, nutritional traits are subject to natural selection and move as species evolve to exploit new or changing nutritional environments and to adopt differing life-history strategies. Presaging such evolutionary change in gene frequencies within populations are epigenetic effects, whereby the nutritional experiences of parents influence the behavior and metabolism of their offspring without requiring changes in gene frequencies.
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