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What causes certain mutagens to be teratogenic?

  1. Nov 24, 2011 #1
    Why are certain mutagens teratogenic, while others are not?

    Does it have to do with the areas that it affects in the body (i.e. Radioactive Iodine will go to the thyroid)?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    I was under the impression that all mutagens were teratogenic, but not all teratogens are mutagens. Certainly, anything that can damage DNA could potentially cause birth defects. However, teratogens are more general than that and can induce physiological changes that lead to birth defects rather than mutating DNA directly.
     
  4. Nov 28, 2011 #3

    Ryan_m_b

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    I was under the impression that teratogenics are agents that end up causing severe birth defects due to developmental abnormalities. This doesn't mean they're necessarily mutagens (as far as I'm aware), just that they interfere with developmental pathways.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2011 #4

    bobze

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    Correct and correct. "Teratogen" would be the more broad set here than "mutagen".
     
  6. Nov 28, 2011 #5

    Ygggdrasil

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    There may also be some mutagens that don't act as teratogens because their mutagenic effects are very local and may not be easily passed to a fetus. For example, UV radiation is mutagenic but not teratogenic.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2011 #6
    I thought that teratogens caused problems only in developing foetuses and not in adults. So does this also include mutagens which do not do this by virtue of them not being in physical contact or not having direct interaction with the foetus?
     
  8. Nov 29, 2011 #7

    Ryan_m_b

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    True, though UV could be teratogenic it is highly unlikely (I'm struggling to think of any reasonable situation where a UV torch would get anywhere near a uterus).
     
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