[ey-bahy-oh-jen-uh-sis, ab-ee-oh-]
noun Biology.
the now discredited theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.

a-6 + biogenesis; coined by T. H. Huxley in 1870

abiogenetic [ey-bahy-oh-juh-net-ik, ab-ee-oh-] , abiogenetical, adjective
abiogenetically, adverb
abiogenist [ey-bahy-oj-uh-nist, ab-ee-] , noun
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World English Dictionary
abiogenesis (ˌeɪbaɪəʊˈdʒɛnɪsɪs)
1.  Also called: autogenesis the hypothetical process by which living organisms first arose on earth from nonliving matter
2.  another name for spontaneous generation Compare biogenesis
[C19: New Latin, from a-1 + bio- + genesis]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
abiogenesis   (ā'bī-ō-jěn'ĭ-sĭs)  Pronunciation Key 
See spontaneous generation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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