ovist


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o·vist

(ō'vist),
A preformationist who believed that the female sex cell contained a miniature body susceptible to growth when stimulated by semen. Compare: spermist.
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Ovist comes to Rahco with over 20 years in the rubber industry.
The ovist view was briefly revived in the mid-1700s by a few embryologists who objected to the inefficiency of "'animalculism," the term for the theory that located the pre-existing embryo in sperm.
Another preformationist, an eminent French ovist, found the notion of Descartes's divinely ordered world so exhilarating that he reported experiencing bouts of cardiac arrhythmia just reading about it.
The ovists and the spermists, she insists, were on to something important.
The "spermist" camp thought it was stored in the spermatozoa, while the "ovists" argued that it was situated in the ovum, the female egg.
Ovists, including Marcello Malpighi and Jan Swammerdam, argued that a miniature human was housed within each female egg (then recently described by William Harvey); spermists such as Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Nicolas Hartsoeker argued that each sperm contained little people, or homunculi.
Pinto-Correia avoids a chronological account of the development of preformation, rather structuring the book around each of the challenges to preformation in general, illustrating how ovists and spermists responded differently.
His emphasis evokes not Harvey's or the ovists' accounts of the importance of the egg so much as an ancient and enduring myth about pregnant mothers.