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Nutrition Noteworthy

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Vitamin A, Its Congeners, and Neural Tube Defects: Their Mutagenic Effects on the Developing Fetus During Embryogenesis


Vitamin A is necessary for fetal development, cell growth and development, and reproduction. It is a fat soluble vitamin found in many different foods, but is also available in a synthetic form. Taking Vitamin A in doses larger than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) can cause deleterious effects on the developing fetus during the critical period of embryogenesis namely Neural Tube Defects (NTDs). While taking Vitamin A in such large amounts can lead to many different congenital malformations, it has been shown that other environmental and inherited genetic factors also cause similar effects. Due to the recent advances in molecular biology techniques, many of genetic defects have been identified, including those involving the Retinoic Acid Receptor (RAR) and various Hox genes.

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