Developmental geneticists continue to make substantial jumps in our understanding of the genetic pathways that regulate development. This understanding stems predominantly from analyses of genetically tractable model organisms developing in laboratory environments. This environment is vastly different from that in which human development occurs. As such, most causes of developmental defects in humans are thought to involve multifactorial gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. In this review, we discuss how gene-environment interactions with environmental teratogens may predispose embryos to structural malformations. We elaborate on the growing number of gene-ethanol interactions that might underlie susceptibility to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. WIREs Dev Biol 2017, 6:e247. doi: 10.1002/wdev.247 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
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