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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The 49-year history of the Teratology Society is reviewed. An abbreviated history is outlined in table form, with listings of the Warkany Lectures, the Continuing Education Courses, and officers of the society. The original article was updated to include the years 2000 to 2010. METHODS: A year-by-year description of the events is given, including the scientific and social content of the annual meetings and changes in the business of the society, in many cases using comments from the past presidents. The valuable and unique diversity of the members is discussed and illustrated, presenting the disciplines and main research areas of the presidents. The number of submitted abstracts and the various categories are tabulated, averaging the number and type over successive periods. A significant increase in the number of abstracts dealing with epidemiology and developmental biology is evident. The society's development is compared to that of a human, and the question was asked by Shephard et al. (2000): Have we reached the maturational stage of old age or senescence, or is the society still maturing gracefully? This question needs further discussion by all the members. By 2010, many positive changes are happening to revitalize the society. RESULTS: During the past 50 years, we have developed the scientific basis to prevent birth defects caused by rubella, alcoholism, and folate deficiency, as well as other prenatal exposures. We are now taking advantage of advances in many fields to begin shaping the Teratology Society of the 21st century. CONCLUSIONS: We must now engage in political battles to obtain the resources needed to conduct further research and to implement prevention programs, as well as to provide care and rehabilitation for persons with birth defects. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.