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Inheritance in Poultry

Nature volume 74, page 583 (11 October 1906) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THIS is a valuable addition to the rapidly-increasing literature dealing with the subject of inheritance. It affords a good example of the growing complexity of the theories which have been founded on the famous discovery of Mendel. The simplicity of the original Mendelian system has now to be supplemented by such conceptions as those of “imperfect dominance,” “incomplete segregation,” “compound allelomorphs,” and the like. The author of the present treatise, well known as the director of the station for experimental evolution at Cold Spring Harbour, New York, deserves much credit for the care with which his experiments have been devised and their results recorded. Each experiment is methodically described under the heads of “Statement of Problem,” “Material,” “Results,” “Conclusions,” and the general bearing of the whole series on evolutionary theory receives full and candid discussion in a final section. The author's standpoint, as was to be expected, is in the main Mendelian, but he recognises the facts that both dominance and recessiveness are frequently incomplete, and that “an adequate theory of gametic purity has not only to explain the simple Mendelian formula, but also the facts of imperfect dominance, impurity of extracted forms, latency and atavism, and occasional particulate inheritance.” Prepotency (in Bateson's sense) he holds to be as truly important in inheritance as dominance. It is worth noting that de Vries's dictum as to the sharp separation of the constituent units which make up the characteristics of organisms, between which units transitions exist “as little as between the molecules of chemistry,” is, in the author's opinion, not borne out by the present experiments; nor does he find confirmation of the same biologist's assertion as to the different modes of inheritance of “specific” and “varietal” characteristics.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/074583b0

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