epigenetics

noun, plural in form but singular in construction epi·ge·net·ics \ ˌe-pə-jə-ˈne-tiks \

Definition of epigenetics

: the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence

Recent Examples of epigenetics from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of epigenetics

epi- + genetics, after epigenesis and phenogenetics "developmental genetics," borrowed from German Phänogenetik, from phäno- (in Phänotypus phenotype) + Genetik genetics


Medical Dictionary

epigenetics

noun plural but singular in construction epi·ge·net·ics \ -iks \

medical Definition of epigenetics

: the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence
  • At its most basic, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code but still get passed down to at least one successive generation.
  • —John CloudTime18 Jan. 2010
  • Epigenetics is the study of the chemical groups that stick to DNA and act as switches to turn genes on and off.
  • New Scientist7 July 2006

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to recoil in dread or terror

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name More Food!

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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