[ap-uh-toh-sis, ap-uhp‐]
a normal, genetically regulated process leading to the death of cells and triggered by the presence or absence of certain stimuli, as DNA damage.
Also called programmed cell death.

apoptotic [ap-uh-tot-ik, ap-uhp‐] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
apoptosis (ˌæpəpˈtəʊsɪs)
biology Also called: programmed cell death the programmed death of some of an organism's cells as part of its natural growth and development
[C20: from Greek: a falling away, from apo- + ptōsis a falling]

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
apoptosis   (āp'əp-tō'sĭs, āp'ə-tō'-)  Pronunciation Key 
A natural process of self-destruction in certain cells, such as epithelial cells and erythrocytes, that are genetically programmed to have a limited life span or are damaged. Apoptosis can be induced either by a stimulus, such as irradiation or toxic drugs, or by removal of a repressor agent. The cells disintegrate into membrane-bound particles that are then eliminated by phagocytosis. Also called programmed cell death.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
apoptosis [(ap-uhp-toh-sis)]

The programmed death of a cell. Scientists believe that this process is governed by chemical signals a given cell receives from its neighbors.

Note: It is thought some forms of cancer may result when this process of cell death is somehow interrupted, allowing cells to grow unchecked, with the result being a cancerous tumor.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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