INSIGHTS | LETTERS
the flavor learning that happens during
specific periods in the womb. Fetal life is
also a period during which other systems
and organs are vulnerable to adaptations
in response to a variety of events that may
happen during pregnancy (such as maternal infection, hypertension, and tobacco
smoking). Most of these events impair
fetal growth, affecting its metabolism and
risk for diseases over the course of its life
(1). “Programming” effects, moreover, may
influence the neurobiological processes
involved in reward sensitivity, impulsivity,
and cue interpretation, and therefore persistently shape the individual’s response
to rewarding stimuli such as palatable
For instance, the hedonic response to
sweet taste measured in preterm new-
borns in their first day of life varies with
the degree of their intrauterine growth
restriction (IUGR) (2). At 3 years of age,
IUGR girls are more impulsive in a task
that uses a sweet treat as a reward (3). In
addition, different studies demonstrate
that individuals born with low birth
weight prefer to eat foods rich in carbo-
hydrates or fat, rather than fruits and
vegetables (4–7). Given that dopamine sig-
nals the salience of the rewarding stimuli,
the fetal programming of functional
variations in the mesocorticolimbic dopa-
minergic system facing palatable foods
is putatively involved in these behavioral
Considering that the current environ-
ment promotes the overconsumption of
energy-dense, nutrient-poor food, often
leading to obesity, the knowledge that
some individuals may be predisposed to
spontaneously prefer high-fat, high-sugar
foods is relevant. It also justifies invest-
ments in prevention research and policy
for supporting families and communities
to nurture healthy children, considering
André Krumel Portella1 and Patrícia
1Department of Pediatrics, Universidade Federal
de Ciências Médicas de Porto Alegre, 90050-
170, Brazil. 2Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of
Medicine, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do
Sul, Ramiro Barcelos, 2350, 90035-903, Porto
Alegre, RS, Brazil.
*Corresponding author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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6. M. M. Perala et al. , PLOS ONE 7, e46139 (2012).
7. F. Lussana et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 88, 1648 (2008).
8. P. P. Silveira et al., Appetite 73, 15 (2014).
Erratum for the Report: “Observation of
the transition state for pressure-induced
BO3→BO4 conversion in glass” by T. Edwards,
T. Endo, J. H. Walton, S. Sen, Science 345,
1261201 (2014). Published online 19 September
2014; 10.1126/science. 1261201 PHOTO