Giraffe Cardiovascular

Roadmap for Innovation

Giraffe Cardiovascular Evolution: Roadmap for Innovation

This project involved an extensive rewrite of a manuscript that had been submitted to the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. While the reviewers found the main argument intriguing, they recommended extensive changes to improve the organization, flow, clarity, and presentation of key concepts. The paper asserts that cardiovascular adaptations in the giraffe could serve as a source for biomedical innovation in humans who experience pathological left ventricular hypertrophy in response to pressure overload. Healthy adult giraffes exhibit systolic blood pressures of 200–300 mmHg to maintain adequate cerebral perfusion1—more than twice that of humans and other mammals as a function of body mass2. While this degree of hypertension would result in pathological cardiac remodeling in humans (i.e., pathological hypertrophy), resulting in left ventricular hypertrophy, fibrosis, and commonly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, there is substantial evidence that adaptations in the giraffe prevent the development of fibrosis and preserve left ventricular diastolic function despite hypertrophy (i.e., developmental hypertrophy)2-5. We were able to not only improve the writing, flow, and clarity, but added more depth to the paper and leveraged our experience in molecular biology and genetics to highlight underlying genetic factors in giraffe cardiac adaptation. We were also able to help the client improve the quality and clarity of the figures. After our extensive work on the paper*, the manuscript was accepted with praise from reviewers regarding the quality of the writing and subsequently published.

*Note: The client made minor changes to the paper prior to submission.


1 Smerup, M. et al. The thick left ventricular wall of the giraffe heart normalises wall tension, but limits stroke volume and cardiac output. Journal of Experimental Biology 219, 457-463 (2015).

2 Østergaard, K. H. et al. Left ventricular morphology of the giraffe heart examined by stereological methods. The Anatomical Record 296, 611-621 (2013).

3 Hirt, M. N. et al. Increased afterload induces pathological cardiac hypertrophy: a new in vitro model. Basic Research in Cardiology 107 (2012).

4 Agaba, M. et al. Giraffe genome sequence reveals clues to its unique morphology and physiology. Nature Communications 7, 11519 (2016).

5 Liu, C. et al. A towering genome: Experimentally validated adaptations to high blood pressure and extreme stature in the giraffe. Sci Adv 7, eabe9459 (2021).

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