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Development of an embryo or of embryonic tissue outside the body in an artificial environment.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a trend in the theory of evolution according to which biological evolution is the result of environmental conditions, which bring about changes in organisms (the organisms themselves are only the passive material formed by these conditions). Adherents of ectogenesis argue that the environment, acting either directly or through the use or disuse of organs, causes adaptive changes that are later transmitted by heredity.

Ectogenesis is the opposite of autogenesis, which explains the evolution of organisms by the action of internal factors alone, for example, adaptive mutations or absolute expediency as the primary and immanent property of life. Neither ectogenesis nor autogenesis can account for all the observed phenomena of evolution, heredity, and variability. These mechanistic views are refuted by Darwinism, which affirms the dialectical unity of the external and internal factors of evolution. The British philosopher H. Spencer, the founder of mechano-Lamarckism, presented the most coherent exposition of the ideas of ectogenesis (seeNEO-LAMARCKISM).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Here was Haldanes ectogenesis, only with the insertion of the resulting embryo into a woman's womb.
(33) In total, the AHR Act prohibits the following activities: compensation for gametes and surrogacy, the creation of animal-human hybrids and chimeras, putting human reproductive material into a non-human life form for the purpose of creating a human being, reproductive and non-reproductive human cloning, creating an embryo from part of another embryo or fetus, embryonic sex selection for non-medical reasons, the creation of embryos solely for research, germ-line engineering, maintaining an embryo outside a woman's body for more than 14 days (ectogenesis), the posthumous use of reproductive material without consent, and the use of gametes obtained from a minor.
Most scientists whose research could lead to ectogenesis are focused on developing treatments either for infertility or for the complications of premature birth.
Even medically indicated ectogenesis would be available only to the relatively well-off, as is true today for expensive treatments for neonates and for infertility.
The only possible solution to this problem is Haldane's notion of ectogenesis:
If ectogenesis were even possible, we could play all the tricks we liked on the early development of man ...
Feminist Concerns about Ectogenesis, in Healing Technology: Feminist Perspectives in Medical Ethics (Kathryn Strother Ratcliff ed., 1989).
The process - known medically as ectogenesis - has already been used to give birth to a goat in Japan.
* ectogenesis (maintaining an embryo outside of the human body; i.e., in an artificial womb)
In spite of severe theoretical contradictions, Squier adds O'Brien into her own edifice, claiming that "it is from this core of anxiety over human reproductive asymmetry that the image of ectogenesis [reproduction outside the womb] speaks." This statement, set practically alongside her claim that "the cyborg originates in ectogenesis," simply doesn't add up.
The CNB unanimously recommended that practices of artificial reproduction inspired by racial prejudices be banned; that the practice of using gametes or embryos for artificial reproduction without the interested parties' consent be prohibited; that any commercial or industrial exploitation of gametes, embryos, or fetal tissues be banned, along with any form of compensation, brokerage, or advertisement; that embryo splitting, cloning, and ectogenesis with the object of procreation be forbidden; that the production of hybrids or chimeras and interspecific implantations be legally prohibited; that producing embryos solely for scientific purposes be forbidden.