Epigenesis (biology)

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In biology, epigenesis (or, in contrast to preformationism, neoformationism) is the process by which plants, animals and fungi develop from a seed, spore or egg through a sequence of steps in which cells differentiate and organs form.[1]

Aristotle first published the theory of epigenesis in his book On the Generation of Animals. Although epigenesis appears to be an obvious fact in today's genetic age, historically, creationist theories of life's origins hindered its acceptance.[2] However, during the late 18th century an extended and controversial debate among biologists finally led epigenesis to eclipse the long-established preformationist view.[3][4] The embryologist Caspar Friedrich Wolff refuted preformationism in 1759 in favor of epigenesis, but this did not put an end to preformationism.[5]

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  1. ^ Heard, Edith (December 13, 2012). "Épigénétique et mémoire cellulaire: Leçon inaugurale prononcée le jeudi 13 décembre 2012". Épigénétique et mémoire cellulaire. OpenEdition Books. Leçons inaugurales (in French). Collège de France. ISBN 9782722602328. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Engelstein, Stefani (2003). "Reproductive Machines in E.T.A Hoffmann". In Henn, Marianne; Pausch, Holger A. (eds.). Body Dialectics in the Age of Goethe. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 173. ISBN 9789042010765. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Baxter, Alice Levine (March 1976). "Edmund B. Wilson as a Preformationist: Some Reasons for His Acceptance of the Chromosome Theory". Journal of the History of Biology. 9 (1): 29–57. doi:10.1007/bf00129172. PMID 11615633. S2CID 44857190.
  4. ^ Conference, Spallanzani's Biological Contributions 200 Years After His Death. New York: Columbia University. October 29, 1999. Archived from the original on April 12, 2001. Abstracts of papers presented.
  5. ^ Mayr, Ernst (1998). "What Is the Meaning of 'Life'?". This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780674884694. Retrieved June 10, 2016.

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