The Earliest Exposure: Transgenerational Toxicology
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When mammals are exposed to chemicals during fetal development, the outcomes can last a lifetime. In some cases, the catastrophic impacts can be due to chemical malfeasance, as exogenous chemicals masquerade as cellular signals, and alter pattern formation within the fetus. The production of freemartins or the adverse impacts of diethylstilbestrol on the reproductive systems of developing females are classic examples of such impacts upon tissue organization. Other chemicals alter development by altering the heritable material (in other words, the genes and chromosomes), and under these conditions the impacts may extend beyond the mother and her developing offspring, impacting future generations well after the original chemical exposure has subsided. This chapter focuses on the developmental origins of adult disease, and more specifically on multigenerational and transgenerational toxicology.
KeywordsEpigenetic Modification Germ Line Identical Twin Imprint Gene Transgenerational Effect
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