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Teratology is the study of abnormalities of physiological development. It is often thought of as the study of human birth defects, but it is much broader than that, taking in other non-birth developmental stages, including puberty; and other non-human life forms, including plants. A newer term developmental toxicity includes all manifestations of abnormal development, not only frank terata. These may include growth retardation or delayed mental development without any structural malformations.
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1. any agent that interferes with normal embryonic development: alcohol or thalidomide or X-rays or rubella are examples
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A substance that can cause deformities in embryos. Dioxin is a teratogen.
|Agriculture Glossary||Download this dictionary|
A chemical that causes nonhereditary birth defects in a developing fetus. Teratogencity is taken into account in assessing the toxicity of pesticides and other chemicals. Both level and timing of exposure to teratogens determine health effects.
Source: U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.
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