spontaneous generation


spontaneous generation
abiogenesis.
[1650-60]

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also called  Abiogenesis,  

      the hypothetical process by which living organisms develop from nonliving matter; also, the archaic theory that utilizes this process to explain the origin of life. Pieces of cheese and bread wrapped in rags and left in a dark corner, for example, were thus thought to produce mice, according to this theory, because after several weeks, there were mice in the rags. Many believed in spontaneous generation because it explained such occurrences as the appearance of maggots on decaying meat.

      By the 18th century it had become obvious that higher organisms could not be produced by nonliving material. The origin of microorganisms such as bacteria, however, was not fully determined until Pasteur proved in the 19th century that microorganisms reproduce. See also biopoiesis.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spontaneous generation — Spontaneous Spon*ta ne*ous (sp[o^]n*t[=a] n[ e]*[u^]s), a. [L. spontaneus, fr. sponte of free will, voluntarily.] 1. Proceeding from natural feeling, temperament, or disposition, or from a native internal proneness, readiness, or tendency,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spontaneous generation — Generation Gen er*a tion, n. [OE. generacioun, F. g[ e]n[ e]ration, fr.L. generatio.] 1. The act of generating or begetting; procreation, as of animals. [1913 Webster] 2. Origination by some process, mathematical, chemical, or vital; production;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spontaneous generation — spontaneous generation. См. биопоэз. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • spontaneous generation — n ABIOGENESIS * * * the discredited concept of the development of living organisms from nonliving matter …   Medical dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — n. the theory, now discredited, that living organisms can originate in nonliving matter independently of other living matter; abiogenesis …   English World dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — noun Date: 1665 abiogenesis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — Abiogenesis …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • spontaneous generation — (spon ta ne us) The hypothesis that living organisms can arise from nonliving matter …   Dictionary of microbiology

  • spontaneous generation — noun the fancied production of living organisms without previously existing parents from inorganic matter, or from decomposing organic matter, a notion which at one time had many supporters; abiogenesis …   Wiktionary

  • spontaneous generation — noun historical the supposed production of living organisms from non living matter …   English new terms dictionary


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