SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY 50 years ago, pregnant women whowere prescribed thalidomide for morning sickness gave birthto children with birth defects. Thalidomide is a mixture of twoenantiomers; one reduces morning sickness, but the othercauses severe birth defects. Today, the FDA has approved thisdrug for non-pregnant individuals with Hansen’s disease(leprosy) or newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, a bloodand bone marrow cancer. The beneficial enantiomer can besynthesized and given to patients, but over time, both thebeneficial and the harmful enantiomer can be detected in thebody. Propose a possible explanation for the presence of theharmful enantiomer.

Question

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY 50 years ago, pregnant women who
were prescribed thalidomide for morning sickness gave birth
to children with birth defects. Thalidomide is a mixture of two
enantiomers; one reduces morning sickness, but the other
causes severe birth defects. Today, the FDA has approved this
drug for non-pregnant individuals with Hansen’s disease
(leprosy) or newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, a blood
and bone marrow cancer. The beneficial enantiomer can be
synthesized and given to patients, but over time, both the
beneficial and the harmful enantiomer can be detected in the
body. Propose a possible explanation for the presence of the
harmful enantiomer.

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