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Bureau of Human Heredity

Nature volume 141, page 1091 (18 June 1938) | Download Citation



AN appeal for funds on behalf of the Bureau of Human Heredity, which appears in The Times of June 7, gives some slight indication of the value of the work which has been carried out by this organization with the limited resources at its disposal and in the brief period since its foundation. The function of the Bureau is to centralize in one organization as a world clearing-house the information already accurately ascertained on the inborn constitutional factors in man, and to distribute it freely wherever it is required. In less than eighteen months the Bureau has accumulated data on the inheritance of more than six hundred physical and mental differences. As a result of a financial appeal in May 1936, the Bureau secured sufficient support to enable it to carry on from day to day, while a grant for one year was made by a scientific worker. The present appeal is headed by Lord Dawson of Penn, with the support of Sir F. Gowland Hopkins, Sir E. Farquhar Buzzard, Sir Richard Gregory and others. In their view, the facts warrant an appeal to the public for a sum of £25,000, an amount which is not considered excessive in view of the importance of the work to be carried on. It would enable the activities of the Bureau to be placed on a permanent basis. In justification, the signatories to the appeal point out that attempts to improve the lot of the individual must remain largely ineffective so long as the data which reveal his inborn nature remain obscure. When the Bureau has been placed in a position to carry out its functions normally in accordance with the intentions of its promoters, it will be possible for any medical man to obtain in English the latest information from any country relating to, for example, the resistance or non-resistance of certain types to common infections, or occupational disease. Research workers themselves are well aware that the organization of knowledge, such as that upon which the Bureau is engaged, is little less important for scientific progress than research itself. Without it there is risk that much valuable work may suffer oblivion. The appeal is issued from the Bureau of Human Heredity, 115 Gower Street, London, W.C.I.

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