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Related to Epigenesis: Epigenetics


Development in gradual stages of differentiation.
Alteration of the mineral content of rock due to outsideinfluences.



(geology), various natural changes in sedimentary rocks after their formation. The term was proposed in 1901–06 by the German geologists R. Beck and R. Stelzner.

In 1940 the Soviet geologist L. V. Pustovalov used the term “epigenesis” for the stage of lithogenesis immediately following diagenesis (seeDIAGENESIS and LITHOGENESIS). In 1957, N. B. Vas-soevich, supported by N. M. Strakhov, N. V. Logvinenko, and others, demonstrated that the term “epigenesis” is the antonym of “syngenesis” and is one of the loosely used terms; it is used to denote any secondary changes in sedimentary rocks, both cata-genetic and supergene changes (seeCATAGENESIS and SUPERGENE PROCESSES). V. N. Kholodov classified (1970) the processes associated with the action of infiltrating mineralized waters and gas emanations on sedimentary rocks as epigenesis.

Epigenesis leads to the formation of a special group of epigenetic deposits, which are most characteristic of the radioactive, nonferrous, and rare-earth metals.


Vassoevich, N. B. “O terminologii, primeniaemoi dlia oboznacheniia stadii i etapov litogeneza.” In Geologiia i geokhimiia, vol. 1 (7). Moscow, 1957.
Strakhov, N. M. Osnovy teoriilitogeneza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.
Kholodov, V. N. “O terminakh, primeniaemykh pri izuchenii vtorichnykh izmenenii osadochnykh porod.” Lilologiia i poleznye iskopaemye, 1970, no. 6.



the theory that the embryonic development of an organism is a process of successive new formations.

Epigenesis opposes the theory that various primordial structures are present in the sexual cells of the embryo. The conflict between the supporters of epigenesis and those of preformation has existed throughout the history of biology. Some scientists— including Aristotle, W. Harvey, J. Blumenbach, and H. Driesch—defended epigenesis from an idealistic vitalist standpoint. Others—including R. Descartes, P. L. M. de Maupertuis, G.-L. L. de Buffon, and C. F. Wolff—defended the theory from a mechanist-physical standpoint. The theory that prevailed in a given era was determined by the level of knowledge about fertilization and embryogeny. The widespread acceptance of epigenesis in the middle of the 18th century, due mainly to the work of C. F. Wolff, contributed to the progress of embryology.

Advances in cytology during the 1870’s and 1880’s gave rise to many theories of heredity that rejected epigenesis. The conflict between epigenesis and preformism was especially acute with respect to the mechanics of development. The development of genetics led to the final rejection of the theory of pure epigenesis. The primitive concept of development as a process of complete new formation dependent solely on external or nonphysical factors gave way to the modern theory of genetic information that determines the patterns of ontogeny. However, the actual development of an organism is subjected within the limits of the norm of reaction to greater or lesser change under the influence of internal and external factors. In the light of these ideas, attempts at substantiating epigenesis from the standpoint of cybernetics by W. M. Elsasser and others have proved futile. The assumption of a dualism between preformed molecular-biological genetic structures and supposedly exclusive epigenetic processes of development is equally unacceptable. Modern biology regards the realization of hereditary information in the development of an organism as a single interdependent process.


Gaisinovich, A. E. K. F. Vol’f i uchenie o razvilii organizmov: [V sviazi s obshchei evoliutsiei nauchnogo mirovozzreniia]. Moscow, 1961.
Apter, M. Kibernetika i razvitie. Moscow, 1970.
Davidson, E. Deistvie genov v rannem razvilii. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from English.)


References in periodicals archive ?
In this way, future studies should carefully select candidate variables through experimental manipulation in order to test the validity of probabilistic epigenesis model.
Genova, Anthony, 'Kant's Epigenesis of Pure Reason,' Kant-Studien, 65.
Describing how this new scientific paradigm can reshape our present sense of what Romanticism--and particularly Romantic poetry--is, Gigante draws upon an analogy proposed by Helmut Muller-Sievers, who suggested in 1997 that "the multifacted inquiry into the phenomena of life at this time placed the biological concepts of preformation and epigenesis 'in the same relation to each other as allegory and symbol,'" and that the struggle between them haunts us today (33).
Se senalan varios argumentos para justificar una nueva teoria, basados principalmente en la actual interpretacion de diferentes fenomenos tales como endosimbiosis, evolucion reticulada, sintesis moderna del desarrollo y la evolucion (evo-devo), plasticidad fenotipica, epigenesis, y evolucionabilidad, y de varios mecanismos evolutivos: seleccion natural, flujo genico, deriva genica, fusion de genomas y fragmentos genicos, metilacion de ADN, "cajas de herramientas", elementos reguladores cis, hibridacion y poliploidia.
Los resultados revelaran que, desde el punto de vista de los factores del desarrollo, esos ninos no presentaban ningun problema en relacion al factor biologico de la epigenesis y que la ensenanza escolar no interfiere positivamente para el desarrollo de sus estructuras de conocimiento.
Emerge del desarrollo neurologico siguiendo las leyes propias de la epigenesis de la construccion del sistema nervioso de la especie a que pertenece el viviente.
A machine for the epigenesis of self-realization in career development.
La concepcion kantiana de la epigenesis y su aplicacion al estudio fisiologico del hombre tiene un punto de inflexion en las propuestas de Herder, autor de una voluminosa Ideas para una Filosofia de la Historia de la Humanidad, que Kant resena en dos entregas.
Their topics include characterizing human embryonic stem cells, epigenesis in pluripotent cells, the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to cardiomyocytes, stem cells of the eye, animal models, and challenges of cell-based therapy.
Such irregularity is supposed to be attributed to the dissolution of calcite being slower in case of dense concretions than in highly porous silicites during diagenesis, epigenesis and weathering.
However, the potential operation of epigenesis is just as critical to a complete understanding of how giftedness develops.
The Epigenesis of Mind: Essays on Biology and Cognition, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Hillsdale, Nueva Jersey, pp.