Stephen Roberts roberts at zen.mp.co.umist.ac.uk
Thu Jul 21 16:48:23 EST 1994

	I'm a Ph.D student in a Computation Dept. trying to understand some of the principles of neuroscience and evolution. Currently I'm trying to read "Neural Darwinism" by Gerald Edelman - I've reached page 5 and have already become slightly confused - what exactly does "epigenesis" mean?

  My standard dictionary has no mention of it. The large Oxford dictionary says that it is 'the development of an organism by the progressive differentiation of an initially undifferentiated whole. The formation by succesive accretion of parts', whatever that means. Websters dictionary gives epigenetic as 'resulting from external influences, not genetic'.

  In Strickberger's book "Genetics" he says that in epigenesis, as opposed to preformationism (which I can understand), many new factors appear during development which were not present in the original formation.

Has epigenesis to do with cell division?

The context in which this appears is: 'Diversification of anatomical connectivity occurs epigenetically during development, ...'
Could someone please give me a simple explanation of EPIGENESIS?

Thanks in advance,

  Steve Roberts                     roberts at mp.co.umist.ac.uk
  Manchester, UK.

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