Cytological Theory in Relation to Heredity

Abstract

THE chromosome theory of heredity, by relating chromosome behaviour with the phenomena of inheritance, has obviously made it possible to apply the cytological method to the study of inheritance. With this profitable field before them, geneticists and cytologists have not hesitated to draw conclusions in the one field from observations made in the other, but in order to do so they have had to apply certain rules of interpretation. Their method has naturally been to assume, so far as possible, a direct relationship between cytological and genetical observations. The geneticist has therefore not only assumed that the material of every part of the chromosome has a specific genetic effect, which is a widely verified assumption; but also that the capacity of the chromosome for variation is equally specific, so that it is possible to refer to hereditary differences and to particles of chromosome alike as ‘genes’. This second assumption is also widely verified; but it is subject to serious exceptions in that two different kinds of change have been shown to befall the same particle, namely, internal change and external change such as loss or re-arrangement. This constitutes no primary objection to the theory of the gene but rather indicates a necessary enlargement of its scope.

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DARLINGTON, C. Cytological Theory in Relation to Heredity. Nature 127, 709–712 (1931). https://doi.org/10.1038/127709a0

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