heredity[hə red′i tē]
- Heredity is defined as the characteristics we get genetically from our parents and our relatives before them.
- An example of heredity is the likelihood that you will have blue eyes.
- An example of heredity is your possibility of having breast cancer based on family history.
- the transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring by means of genes in the chromosomes
- the tendency of offspring to resemble parents or ancestors through such transmission
- all the characteristics inherited genetically by an individual
Origin of heredityFrench hérédité ; from Classical Latin hereditas, heirship ; from heres, heir ; from Indo-European base an unverified form hē-, to be empty, leave behind from source go, Classical Greek chēres, bereft
- The genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring.
- The sum of characteristics and associated potentialities transmitted genetically to an individual organism.
Origin of heredityFrench hérédité, from Old French heredite, inheritance, from Latin hērēditās, from hērēs, hērēd-, heir; see ghē- in Indo-European roots.
abiogenesis generation of living organisms from inanimate matter. Also called spontaneous generation. anencephaly the congenital absence of the brain and spinal cord in a devel-oping fetus. biotypology the science or study of biotypes, or organisms sharing the same hereditary characteristics —biotypologic, biotypological, adj. blastogenesis the theory that hereditary characteristics are transmitted by germ plasm. Cf. pangenesis. —blastogenetic, adj. cytoplasm the entire substance of a cell excluding the nucleus. deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) the complex substance that is the main carrier of genetic information for all organisms and a major component of chromosomes. DNA deoxyribonucleic acid. dysgenesis lack of or partial fertility, as found in hybrids like the mule, which cannot breed amongst themselves but only with the parent stock. —dysgenetic, adj. geneagenesis alternation of generations. —geneagenetic, adj. genetics 1. Biology. the science of heredity, studying resemblances and differences in related organisms and the mechanisms which explain these phenomena. 2. the genetic properties and phenomena of an organism. —geneticist, n. —genetic, adj. hereditist a believer in the theory that heredity, more than environment, determines nature, characteristics, etc. homogenesis the normal course of generation in which the offspring resembles the parent from generation to generation. —homogenetic, adj, Mendelism the laws of inheritance through genes, discovered by Gregor J. Mendel. —Mendelian. n., adj. pangenesis the theory advanced by Darwin, now rejected, that transmission of traits is caused by every cell’s throwing off particles called gemmules, which are the basic units of hereditary transmission. The gemmules were said to have collected in the reproductive cells, thus ensuring that each cell is represented in the germ cells. Cf. blastogenesis. —pangenetic, adj. perigenesis Haeckel’s theory of generation and reproduction, which assumes that a dynamic growth force is passed on from one generation to the next. —perigenetic, adj. prepotency the capacity of one parent to impose its hereditary characteristics on offspring by virtue of its possessing a larger number of homozygous, dominant genes than the other parent. —prepotent, adj. radiogenetics a division of radiobiology that studies the effects of radioactiv-ity upon factors of inheritance in genetics. —radiogenic, adj. recombinant DNA a DNA molecule in which the genetic material has been artificially broken down so that genes from another organism can be intro-duced and the molecule then recombined, the result being alterations in the genetic characteristics of the original molecule. ribonucleic acid (RNA) a nucleic acid found in cells that transmits genetic instructions from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. RNA ribonucleic acid. telegony the supposed transmission of hereditary characteristics from one sire to offspring subsequently born to other sires by the same female. —telegonic, adj. Weismannism the theories of development and heredity asserted by August Weismann (1834-1914), esp. that inheritable characteristics are carried in the germ cells, and that acquired characteristics are not hereditary. —Weismannian, n., adj. xenogenesis 1. abiogenesis; spontaneous generation. 2. metagenesis, or alternation of generations. 3. production of an offspring entirely different from either of the parents. Also xenogeny. —xenogenic, xenogenetic, adj. xenogeny xenogenesis.
- Hereditary transmission of the physical and genetic qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological law by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants.