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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ He said that three factors had caused my arteries to be blocked: heredity, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
▪ In their efforts to curb immorality purists carefully distanced themselves from a world view totally determined by heredity.
▪ Other factors such as heredity and the physical environment play a major role as well.
▪ Remember what we said about heredity?
▪ The experimental study of heredity led Bateson to breeding studies and soon to the newly rediscovered laws of Mendelian heredity.
▪ The prevailing theory held that protein was most likely the material conveying heredity.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Heredity \He*red"i*ty\, n. [L. hereditas heirship.] (Biol.) Hereditary transmission of the physical and psychical qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological law by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants. See Pangenesis.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1530s, from Middle French hérédité (12c.), from Latin hereditatem (nominative hereditas) "heirship, inheritance, condition of being an heir," from heres (genitive heredis) "heir, heiress," from PIE root *ghe- "to be empty, left behind" (source also of Greek khera "widow"). Legal sense of "inheritable quality or character" first recorded 1784; the modern biological sense seems to be found first in 1863, introduced by Herbert Spencer.


n. hereditary transmission of the physical and genetic qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological law by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants.

  1. n. the biological process whereby genetic factors are transmitted from one generation to the next

  2. the total of inherited attributes [syn: genetic endowment]


Heredity is the genetic information passing for traits from parents to their offspring, either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction. This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. Through heredity, variations exhibited by individuals can accumulate and cause some species to evolve through the natural selection of specific phenotype traits. The study of heredity in biology is called genetics, which includes the field of epigenetics.

Heredity (journal)

Heredity is a scientific journal concerned with heredity in a biological sense, i.e. genetics. It was founded by Ronald Fisher and C. D. Darlington in 1947 and is the official journal of The Genetics Society. From 1996 the publishing was taken over by Nature Publishing Group.

Heredity (album)

Heredity is a 1985 album by Rational Youth, now down to singer Tracy Howe with numerous studio musicians. In retrospect, Howe was less than happy with the album, especially with the fact that it looked like he was using the Rational Youth name as a flag of convenience for a solo album. The use of the Rational Youth name was suggested by Capitol Records, to which Howe acquiesced. The album, while successful, appealed to a different audience than earlier Rational Youth fans, confusing the latter. To date, the album has never seen a CD release.

Heredity was produced by Howe together with former Klaatu member Dee Long.

Heredity (disambiguation)

Heredity may refer to:

  • Heredity: the transfer of characteristics from parent to offspring
  • Inheritance: the hereditary transfer of titles, property, or assets from parent to offspring (or other beneficiary), i.e. the hereditary House of Lords
  • A synonym for bloodline; for other uses of the term, see Bloodline (disambiguation)
  • Heredity (journal), a scientific journal
  • Heredity (short story), a science fiction story by Isaac Asimov
  • Heredity (film), a 1912 film starring Harry Carey
Heredity (short story)

"Heredity" is a science fiction short story by the American writer Isaac Asimov. Asimov wrote the story, his twenty-third, in August 1940 under the title "Twins". It was rejected by John W. Campbell, editor of Astounding Science Fiction, on 29 August, and accepted by Frederik Pohl on 4 September. It appeared in the April 1941 issue of Astonishing Stories under the title "Heredity" and was reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov. Heredity was the second Asimov story to receive a cover illustration.

Heredity (film)

Heredity is a 1912 American drama film directed by D. W. Griffith.

Usage examples of "heredity".

From what black wells of Acherontic fear or feeling, from what unplumbed gulfs of extra-cosmic consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those half-articulate thunder-croakings drawn?

In these animals modified by heredity, the two eyes generally protruded, although in the parents usually only one showed exophthalmia, the lesion having been made in most cases only on one of the corpora restiformia.

The general abandonment of the Darwinian hypothesis by biologists, adverted to in our next chapter, is mainly due to the failure of heredity to account for the gradual modification of organs and of habits.

It seems probable that morality is to a considerable extent a matter of heredity, and the care of the eugenist should be to work with every force that makes for a clear understanding of the moral factors of the world, and to work against every force that tends to confuse the issues.

The eugenist only asks that both factors be taken into account, whereas in the past the factor of heredity has been too often ignored.

Reverend Elial Starbuck thus ruminated about heredity, slavery, and feeblemindedness as he rode across the hot battlefield, yet he did not entirely ignore the cries that came from the parched, hurting men left helpless by the fighting.

Traits like these, which are easily defined and occur very rarely, make up a large part of the cases of probably Mendelian heredity.

They are little more than curiosities, their rarity and abnormal nature depriving them of evolutionary significance other than to demonstrate that Mendelian heredity does operate in man.

In human heredity, on the other hand, because of the great difficulties attendant upon an application of Mendelian methods, the biometric mode of attack is still the most useful, and has been largely used in the present book.

Most of the experiments have been with lower animals and with plants, but recent experiments and statistical studies show that Mendelism is an important factor in human heredity, in such characteristics as color of hair and eyes and skin, partial color blindness, defects of eye, ear, and other important organs.

The only difference between the two pictures is that in the modern one the concepts of heredity and adaptation have been formed without special application to the ethical characteristics of the soul.

He conducted experiments with chemicals, investigated methods of coal mining and canal building, toured salt mines, speculated on the mechanisms of heredity, collected fossils, and propounded theories on rain, the composition of air, and the laws of motion, among much else.

That, in turn, drew him back to the other truth of that source, that his accomplishments with the sword and the gemstones were not solely the result of heredity.

Among those of his relations who professed the modern faith of heredity it was well understood that in him the character of the late Myron Bayne, a maternal great-grandfather, had revisited the glimpses of the moon - by which orb Bayne had in his lifetime been sufficiently affected to be a poet of no small Colonial distinction.

Just as in the lifetime of the individual adjustive actions which were originally intelligent may by frequent repetition become automatic, so in the lifetime of species actions originally intelligent may by frequent repetition and heredity so write their effects on the nervous system that the latter is prepared, even before individual experience, to perform adjustive actions mechanically which in previous generations were performed intelligently.