Discussion – Week 4
Environmental and Genetic Impact on Fetal Development
Both environmental and genetic influences impact fetal development. Some substances (e.g., folic acid, hormones, etc.) have the biggest influence at sensitive periods during gestation. Early in gestation when neurological development is at its peak, folic acid is most important. Hormones, such as androgen and estrogen, are necessary for external genital differentiation between 9 and 12 weeks of gestation. Prenatal alcohol exposure, however, can impact fetal growth at any time during gestation. On the other hand, environmental influences such as maternal genetics, nutrition, health, and immunization can have a positive impact on fetal development, mitigating the impact of substances and other negative influences. In addition to environmental influences, you must also consider the impact of genetic influences. Genes determine not only an individual’s physical features at birth—they also contribute to hormonal processes throughout the lifespan. The interaction of environmental influences and genetic influences impacts the development of a fetus.
To prepare for this Discussion, select two genetic influences and two environmental influences on fetal development and think about how these influences might impact each other.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 4 a brief description of the two genetic influences and two environmental influences you selected. Then, explain how each of the environmental influences you selected can positively or negatively affect the development of a fetus with the genetic influences you selected. Be specific, provide examples, and justify your response with citations from the Learning Resources/literature.
Support your Discussion assignment with specific resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.