AskDefine | Define ontogeny

Dictionary Definition

ontogeny n : (biology) the process of an individual organism growing organically; a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level; "he proposed an indicator of osseous development in children" [syn: growth, growing, maturation, development, ontogenesis] [ant: nondevelopment]

User Contributed Dictionary



From onto- + -geny, after German Ontogenie.


  • a UK /ɒnˈtɒdʒəni/


  1. The arising or development of an individual organism.



See also

Extensive Definition

Ontogeny (also ontogenesis or morphogenesis)(ontos present participle of 'to be', genesis 'creation') describes the origin and the development of an organism from the fertilized egg to its mature form. Ontogeny is studied in developmental biology, developmental psychology, and developmental psychobiology.
In more general terms, ontogeny is defined as the history of structural change in a unity, which can be a cell, an organism, or a society of organisms, without the loss of the organization that allows that unity to exist (Maturana and Varela, 1987, p. 74).

See also


  • Maturana, H. R., Varela F. J. (1987). The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.

External links

ontogeny in Bulgarian: Онтогенеза
ontogeny in Czech: Ontogenetický vývoj
ontogeny in German: Ontogenese
ontogeny in Estonian: Ontogenees
ontogeny in Spanish: Ontogenia
ontogeny in Esperanto: Individugenezo
ontogeny in French: Ontogenèse
ontogeny in Indonesian: Ontogeni
ontogeny in Latvian: Ontoģenēze
ontogeny in Macedonian: Онтогенеза
ontogeny in Dutch: Ontwikkelingsfysiologie
ontogeny in Norwegian: Ontogenese
ontogeny in Polish: Ontogeneza
ontogeny in Portuguese: Ontogenia
ontogeny in Russian: Онтогенез
ontogeny in Slovak: Ontogenéza
ontogeny in Slovenian: Ontogenija
ontogeny in Serbian: Онтогенетско развиће
ontogeny in Turkish: Ontojeni
ontogeny in Ukrainian: Онтогенез
ontogeny in Chinese: 個體發生學
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