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(1) The passing of genetic factors from parent to offspring (or from one generation to the next).
(2) The genetic constitution of an individual.
Heredity is the means by which an offspring acquires the qualities of its parents. Genetics is the science that studies heredity.
Word origin: MF heredite < L hērēditāt- (s. of hērēditās), inheritance.
See also: hereditary, pangenesis, genetics.