biogenesis

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See also: biogénesis and biogènesis

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An 1870 wood engraving of English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, produced in the year that he coined the words biogenesis and abiogenesis

From Ancient Greek βῐ́ος (bíos, life) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʷeyh₃- (to live)) + γένεσις (génesis, origin, source; manner of birth; creation) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵénh₁tis (birth; production)). The words biogenesis and abiogenesis were both coined by English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) in 1870 (see the quotation).[1]

The word biogenesis was first used by English physiologist and neurologist Henry Charlton Bastian (1837–1915) around 1869 to mean “life-origination or commencement” in an unpublished exchange of correspondence with Irish physicist John Tyndall. However, in an 1871 book,[2] Bastian announced he was adopting a new term, archebiosis, because of the confusion that might be caused by Huxley’s use of biogenesis with a different meaning.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

biogenesis (usually uncountable, plural biogeneses)

  1. The principle that living organisms are produced only from other living organisms.
    • 1870 September 17, [Thomas Henry Huxley], “The President’s Address”, in The Athenæum: Journal of English and Foreign Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music and the Drama, number 2238, London: Printed by Edward J. Francis, Took's Court, Chancery Lane, published at the office, 20, Wellington Street, Strand, W.C., by John Francis. [...], OCLC 956082422, page 374, columns 2–3:
      And thus the hypothesis that living matter always arises by the agency of pre-existing living matter, took definite shape; [] It will be necessary for me to refer to this hypothesis so frequently, that, to save circumlocution, I shall call it the hypothesis of Biogenesis; and I shall term the contrary doctrine—that living matter may be produced by not living matter—the hypothesis of Abiogenesis.
    • 2013 March–April, Harold J. Morowitz, “The Smallest Cell [letter]”, in American Scientist[2], volume 101, number 2, archived from the original on 4 January 2017, page 83:
      It is likely that the long evolutionary trajectory of Mycoplasma went from a reductive autotroph to oxidative heterotroph to a cell-wall–defective degenerate parasite. This evolutionary trajectory assumes the simplicity to complexity route of biogenesis, a point of view that is not universally accepted.
  2. Biosynthesis.

Antonyms[edit]

  • (principle that living organisms are produced only from other living organisms): abiogenesis

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Compare “biogenesis” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.
  2. ^ H[enry] Charlton Bastian (1871), “Preface”, in The Modes of Origin of Lowest Organisms; including a Discussion of the Experiments of M. Pasteur, and a Reply to Some Statements by Professors Huxley and Tyndall[1], London; New York, N.Y.: Macmillan and Company, OCLC 42959303.

Further reading[edit]