epi·​ge·​net·​ic | \ ˌe-pə-jə-ˈne-tik How to pronounce epigenetic (audio) \

Definition of epigenetic

1a : 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
b : relating to, being, or involving changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence epigenetic inheritance
2 of a deposit or structure : formed after the laying down of the enclosing rock

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from epigenetic

epigenetically \ ˌe-​pə-​jə-​ˈne-​ti-​k(-​ə)lē How to pronounce epigenetically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of epigenetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were also noticeable epigenetic changes, which is when environmental factors tweak the genome just a bit. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "This Is Your Brain on Space," 23 Oct. 2019 The researchers collected a significant amount of brain imaging data in addition to genetic and epigenetic data. Rod Mccullom, Quartz, "How bullying may shape adolescent brains," 7 Oct. 2019 Using these types of epigenetic techniques to predict the traits of living humans is still difficult, so applying it to the ancient DNA of an extinct hominin species has its limitations. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Scientists Recreate the Face of a Denisovan Using DNA," 20 Sep. 2019 But experiments in many organisms suggested epigenetic inheritance was real. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019 How can these epigenetic changes affect the traits that natural selection can act on — and therefore the future course of evolution? Quanta Magazine, "Finding the Actions That Alter Evolution," 5 Jan. 2017 Still, mouse data in hand, Mansuy has been looking for similar epigenetic changes in people. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019 Research has found that epigenetic marks decorate mRNAs like Christmas lights on a fence. Ken Garber, Science | AAAS, "Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory," 1 July 2019 The list ranges from tobacco smoke to pesticides, flame retardants to obesity, all of which can have epigenetic effects. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "THC Could Affect Men's Sperm, New Study Says," 20 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epigenetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of epigenetic

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for epigenetic

epi- + genetic, after epigenesis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about epigenetic

Statistics for epigenetic

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for epigenetic

The first known use of epigenetic was in 1883

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for epigenetic


epi·​ge·​net·​ic | \ -jə-ˈnet-ik How to pronounce epigenetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of epigenetic

1 : of, relating to, or produced by epigenesis the epigenetic nature of vertebrate development
2 : 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, 14 Feb. 2009

Other Words from epigenetic

epigenetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce epigenetically (audio) \ adverb

Comments on epigenetic

What made you want to look up epigenetic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speed up the process or progress of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!