A Measure of the Intensity of Hereditary Transmission

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THE possessors of certain hereditary characters are unquestionably sub-prolific; that is, they eventually contribute less than their average share to the stock of the future population. It may be that they die before the age of marriage, or that they are sexually unattractive or unattracted, or that if married they are comparatively infertile, or that if married and fertile the children are too weakly to live and become parents. It is very probable, though I have no trustworthy facts to confirm the belief, that persons affected with hereditary insanity are sub-prolific because their families, if they have any, are apt to contain members who are afflicted in various ways that render them less likely than others to live and to marry. But I do not propose to go into the details of this or of any other malady, but merely mention it as an illustration of what is meant, when I assume that the possessors of some particular characteristic, not necessarily a morbid one, and which may be called A, are sub-prolific on the average.

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GALTON, F. A Measure of the Intensity of Hereditary Transmission. Nature 60, 29 (1899) doi:10.1038/060029a0

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