Teratogenesis

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teratogenesis

[‚te·rə·tō′jen·ə·səs]
(medicine)
The formation of a fetal monstrosity.

Teratogenesis

 

the development of monstrosities. Terato-genesis may result from such nonhereditary changes as impaired embryonic development—the joining of such paired organs as the eyes or the absence, underdevelopment, or excessive or abnormal development of organs. Teratogenesis may also result from hereditary changes, or mutations, for example, harelip, cleft palate, brachydactyly, hexadactyly, and impaired development of the genital system. A number of monstrosities have been produced experimentally, thus enabling scientists to understand better the causes of their origin. The study of teratogenesis is important in medicine, systematics, and selective breeding.