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
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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