In this chapter, we learned that mutations naturally occur during the metabolic processes of life as well as in DNA replication, which is not perfect. The rate of mutation above this natural low spontaneous rate can be increased by mutagens, whether they are forms of electromagnetic radiation or chemical mutagens. There are different methods for determining whether a substance is mutagenic or not. However, some substances are not discovered to be mutagenic until they have harmed people. Some mutagenic substances have been detected by monitoring cancer rates and rates of spontaneous abortions and birth defects. Teratogens are substances that are not mutagens and do not harm adults but can cause birth defects. The differences in the formation of gametes among males and females affect the window of vulnerability of our reproductive cells to mutagens.

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