alternate generation

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alternate generation (plural alternate generations)

  1. (biology) Each of the two forms of an organism whose life cycle involves alternation of generations, or the fact of such alternation occurring in a given organism. [from 19th c.]
    • 1868, Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication:
      If, instead of a single individual, several were to be thus developed metagenetically within a pre-existing form, the process would be called one of alternate generation.
    • 2011, David Krough, Biology: A Guide to the Natural World (5th edition), p. 472:
      On the female side, the alternate generation is a small collection of cells, called an embryo sac, that is hidden away deep inside the reproductive parts of the maple tree.

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