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Birth defects: etiology to prevention

Structural birth defects together of are a prominent cause of mortality and morbidity and are gaining importance with improving obstetric care and reduction in infective causes. Advances in understanding genetic (G) and environmental (E) factors and their interaction have added newer dimensions to the etiology of birth defects. Epigenetic is one such interesting field expected to provide mechanistic links between whether and how the environment interacts with maternal and fetal genomes. Some classical examples of environmental insults such as teratogens, maternal medical disorders and nutritional deficiencies as well as G-E interactions leading to birth defects will be discussed. It is important that the relevant scientific information should reach professionals and public for better awareness, appropriate policy decisions to prevent birth defects.

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Correspondence to Koumudi Godbole.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Godbole, K. Birth defects: etiology to prevention. Mol Cytogenet 7 (Suppl 1), I24 (2014).

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  • Birth Defect
  • Scientific Information
  • Policy Decision
  • Nutritional Deficiency
  • Obstetric Care