epi·​ge·​net·​ic ˌe-pə-jə-ˈne-tik How to pronounce epigenetic (audio)
: of, relating to, or produced by the chain of developmental processes in epigenesis that lead from genotype to phenotype after the initial action of the genes
: relating to, being, or involving changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence
epigenetic inheritance
of a deposit or structure : formed after the laying down of the enclosing rock
epigenetically adverb

Examples of epigenetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Much of epigenetic work relies on more invasive methods, like drawing blood or taking tissue samples. Lauren Leffer, Popular Science, 28 Mar. 2024 Over time, these slow-dividing cells acquire subtle differences — mutations in their DNA, epigenetic markers, or other structural changes that alter how genes are expressed. Megan Molteni, STAT, 22 Jan. 2024 Smoking, the study found, seemed to have long-term epigenetic effects on the immune system’s two major forms of protection: the innate response and the adaptive response. Jen Christensen, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 Using epigenetic markers, many biological age tests measure the impact of lifestyle, environment, and behavior on aging. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 30 Jan. 2024 Nicotinamide supplementation induces detrimental metabolic and epigenetic changes in developing rats. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 Once epigenetic changes have occurred, some can be passed down to the next generation. Lauren Leffer, Popular Science, 28 Mar. 2024 The question is, what’s the purpose of these epigenetic modifications? Matt Reynolds, WIRED, 18 Mar. 2024 Through epigenetic inheritance, altered genes, cultivated from going through traumatic experiences—typically during early childhood—are passed from parent to child. Jazmin Towe, Parents, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'epigenetic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


epi- + genetic, after epigenesis

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of epigenetic was in 1883

Dictionary Entries Near epigenetic

Cite this Entry

“Epigenetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epigenetic. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


epi·​ge·​net·​ic -jə-ˈnet-ik How to pronounce epigenetic (audio)
: of, relating to, or produced by epigenesis
the epigenetic nature of vertebrate development
: relating to, being, or involving a modification in gene expression that is independent of the DNA sequence of a gene
epigenetic carcinogenesis
epigenetic inheritance
Methylation is one of many epigenetic signals—chemical changes to DNA and its associated proteins—that modify gene activity without altering the genetic information itself.Tina Hesman Saey, Science News
epigenetically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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