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February 22, 1965

Teratology... A Look at Its Progress and Problems

JAMA. 1965;191(8):27-31. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080080085049

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A proposition advanced by some teratologists states that any agent—if administered at the right time, in the right dose, to the right species—can cause disturbances in embryonic development.

This proposition can neither be proved nor disproved, but it implies an interesting corollary: The potential for developmental abnormality is much greater than the observed incidence of such abnormalities.

The magnitude of this potential and the problems involved in attempting to uncover the basic biological mechanisms involved in developmental abnormalities were made apparent at a week-long Workshop in Teratology at the University of California, Berkeley, in January. The workshop was the second held under an enabling grant from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and was sponsored by the university, the Teratology Society, and the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. The first workshop was held in February, 1964, at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The influences which can result in congenital malformations may

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