In times of starvation the placenta protects the fetus from brain dysfunction.
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Broad, K. D. & Keverne, E. B. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1106022108 (2011).
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Corbyn, Z. Placenta to the rescue. Nature (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/news.2011.449