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Blend of epigenesis +‎ genetics; coined by C. H. Waddington in 1942.


epigenetics (uncountable)

  1. (genetics) The study of the processes involved in the genetic development of an organism, especially the activation and deactivation of genes.
    • 2010 November 6, “Sins of the Fathers”, in New Scientist:
      Epigenetics deals with the regulation of genetic activity within a cell - which genes are switched on or off, and when it happens.
  2. (genetics) The study of heritable changes caused by the activation and deactivation of genes without any change in DNA sequence.

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