acquired characteristic

Science Dictionary
acquired characteristic   (ə-kwīrd')  Pronunciation Key 
A nonhereditary change of function or structure in a plant or animal made in response to the environment. Acquired characteristics include bodily changes brought about by disease or by repeated use or disuse of a body part (as in the building or atrophy of muscle tissue). The heritability of acquired characteristics was advocated by certain biological theorists like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and rejected by Charles Darwin in his formulation of the theory of evolution.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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