Definition of progenitor in US English:



  • 1A person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent.

    ‘his sons and daughters were the progenitors of many of Scotland's leading noble families’
    • ‘The progenitor of the mutant allele was assumed to be the parental allele that was closest in size to the mutant allele.’
    • ‘In some sense, every model organism needs to be developed and selected from its natural progenitors, and no organism will be an entirely ideal model.’
    • ‘For example, the unicellular progenitors of plants underwent an important evolutionary step following the establishment of a second endosymbiotic relationship, resulting in the evolution of the plastid.’
    • ‘The result is premature apoptosis (programmed cell death) of progenitors and failure of stem cells to mature and differentiate.’
    • ‘There is, however, evidence of genome downsizing in polyploids relative to their diploid progenitors in some cases.’
    • ‘Wolfe offers an updated understanding of fraternities as social lockboxes far removed from their bawdy Animal House progenitors.’
    • ‘The person who donates DNA from a somatic cell is the progenitor, in that the child carries that person's DNA.’
    • ‘Note that copy numbers in tetraploids were slightly less than double those in respective diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘The domestication of plants from their wild progenitors has led to the production of a wide variety of crops that share a number of traits.’
    • ‘Indeed, some genes originating from different progenitors are expressed in specific tissues or at different developmental stages, as demonstrated in cotton.’
    • ‘We also wished to explore patterns of gene evolution in polyploid cotton, using as a comparative framework orthologs from the diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘We examined the segments of repeats of 16 strains, each descended from different wild progenitors.’
    • ‘These lines were derived as recombinants from the same progenitor, and their right ends are very likely the same.’
    • ‘The radon gas will then also decay into radioactive solid particles, called radon daughters or radon progenitors.’
    • ‘Single-spore isolates were paired with their respective compatible mating types from the progenitor to establish progeny dikaryons.’
    • ‘Currently, six major tetraploid races are recognized and their diploid progenitors have been identified.’
    • ‘The comparison of newly formed polyploids with their haploid progenitors has revealed that nascent polyploids have a defect in stationary-phase viability.’
    • ‘More significantly, this less-than-proportional increase in genome size in a polyploid species expected from the addition of its diploid progenitors appeared to be a widespread phenomenon in flowering plants.’
    • ‘The results from these studies are generally consistent with theoretical expectations of higher genetic diversity in tetraploids than their diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘Boxes represent extant groups and their ancestral progenitors.’
    ancestor, forefather, forebear, parent
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    1. 1.1 A person who originates an artistic, political, or intellectual movement.
      ‘the progenitor of modern jazz’
      • ‘The record, and the subsequent Live Aid concerts, yoked the two men together as blood-oath crusaders against the famine in Ethiopia, the progenitors of popular culture's most decisive intervention into global politics.’
      • ‘He is that eminent Victorian Charles Darwin, the progenitor of the theory of evolution.’
      • ‘Debussy stands with Mussorgsky, Mahler, Reger, and Strauss among the great progenitors of Modernism.’
      • ‘Coase is the progenitor of the modern theory of the firm.’
      • ‘That defiant self-contempt defines the Velvet's status as the first post-modern band and the progenitor of the entire punk/new wave movement.’
      • ‘Both international law and domestic legal norms in the Christian world had roots in an accepted morality and in natural law, and had common intellectual progenitors (including Grotius, Locke, Vattel).’
      • ‘This concern is evidenced by the very designation of the movement as Realism-a name significantly awarded by its own progenitors rather than by literary historians.’
      • ‘Instead, she bestows a life and a self on modernity that seems to be independent of politics or its intellectual progenitors, and can therefore be whatever the author wants.’
      originator, founder, instigator, source
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Late Middle English: from Old French progeniteur, from Latin progenitor, from progenit- ‘begotten’, from the verb progignere, from pro- ‘forward’ + gignere ‘beget’.