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What's the meaning and origin of the phrase ex ovo omnia?

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Ex ovo omnia is originally a Latin phrase which literally translates to "from the egg, all." The term was created by Wiliam Harvey—an English scientist, physician, and anatomist known in science as the first person to describe the circulatory system in humans. He used the phrase to explain his reproductive, embryological theory that all animals come from an egg. This discredited theory is commonly known as preformationism and claims that all known organisms are fully developed in miniature in the egg (in ovism, a model which prefers the maternal germ cell) or in the sperm cell (in spermism, a model which prefers the paternal germ cell).

In Jeffrey Eugenides's 2002 Pulitzer prize–winning family saga Middlesex, the phrase is the title of chapter 11 of book 2. In it, Cal explains how all of his family, basically, came from an egg, which is a nod to the stories about preformationism that Dr. Philobosian often told them about. Cal tells his family's life story, and the readers learn what happened in the nine years after Milton and Tessie married. The narrative then skips back to chapter 11, in which Desdemona and Lefty, who moved in with Milton and Tessie, are playing the Orthodox Easter game which consists of cracking the Easter eggs, while Tessie informs Milton that she's ovulating. Thus, Cal is conceived.

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