[ ep-i-jen-uh-sis ]

  1. Biology. the theory that an embryo develops from the successive differentiation of an originally undifferentiated structure (opposed to preformation).

  2. Genetics. the approximately stepwise process by which genetic information is modified and translated into the substance and behavior of an organism.: See also epigenetics.

  1. Geology. ore deposition subsequent to the original formation of the enclosing country rock.

Origin of epigenesis

First recorded in 1800–10; epi- + -genesis

Other words from epigenesis

  • ep·i·gen·e·sist, e·pig·e·nist [ih-pij-uh-nist], /ɪˈpɪdʒ ə nɪst/, noun
  • ep·i·ge·net·ic [ep-i-juh-net-ik], /ˌɛp ɪ dʒəˈnɛt ɪk/, adjective
  • ep·i·ge·net·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby epigenesis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use epigenesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for epigenesis


/ (ˌɛpɪˈdʒɛnɪsɪs) /

  1. the widely accepted theory that an individual animal or plant develops by the gradual differentiation and elaboration of a fertilized egg cell: Compare preformation (def. 2)

  2. the formation or alteration of rocks after the surrounding rock has been formed

  1. alteration of the mineral composition of a rock by external agents: a type of metamorphism

Derived forms of epigenesis

  • epigenesist or epigenist (ɪˈpɪdʒɪnɪst), noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012