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For example,

A mother passes on her mitochondrial DNA to her daughter, who then passes it on to her daughter, _________.

Some phrases that come to mind are and so on/fourth and et cetera, but these aren't specific enough (they can be used for non-iterative lists e.g. "I like fruits like apples, bananas, and so on").

Another phrase I can think of is ad infinitum, but that emphasizes length rather than repetitiveness.

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    Quibble - this is neither recursive nor cyclical, it is iterative. You could try using in turn. "A mother passes on her mitochondrial DNA to her daughter, who in turn passes it on to her daughter, and so on." – Phil Sweet May 30 '18 at 11:24
  • @PhilSweet Thank you, that is a much better way to characterize that statement! I was thinking of the process in terms of a recursive definition (a mother’s mDNA = their mother’s mDNA), but the statement itself is definitely iterative. And in turn definitely makes the iterative nature clearer. – Zachary May 30 '18 at 11:52
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You could try using in turn. "A mother passes on her mitochondrial DNA to her daughter, who in turn passes it on to her daughter, and so on." PhilSweet

Very understandable!

and so on. TFD

continuing in the same way

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Cycle describes "iterative phenomena".

  1. any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated.

  2. a round of years or a recurring period of time, especially one in which certain events or phenomena repeat themselves in the same order and at the same intervals.

As in, vicious cycles, cycles of abuse and violence, etc. Forms of the word 'cycle' don't fit well in your sample sentence, though it is describing a mitochondrial inheritance cycle.

A mother passes on her mitochondrial DNA to her daughter, who then passes it on to her daughter, _cyclically_.

  • Hmm using cyclically in that way sounds slightly odd to me. It feels like cyclically has to modify a particular verb phrase, which would be "passes on her mitochondrial DNA to her daughter ..." in this case, but that wouldn't be right because the subject isn't passing on mDNA cyclically. Rather, it's the process that the entire sentence describes (not just the verb phrase) that is cyclical. – Zachary Jun 1 '18 at 3:11

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