Book Review | Published:


Nature volume 142, page 659 (08 October 1938) | Download Citation



IT is unfortunate that the fourth edition of this book should have been published in its present form. The earlier editions provided an interesting account of the work of the early investigators and reflected the influence of this work on the current biological thought. The present edition also contains much which is interesting from a historical point of view. The author's lack of appreciation of modern genetics is shown, however, by the description of crossing-over in the two-strand stage, the emphasis placed on Weismannism, the implication that the genes for sex are on the sex chromosome alone, and by the stress laid on the arbitrary division of genes into lethals, modifiers and other categories. Much loose thinking vitiates the praiseworthy attempt to express genetical facts in popular language. “Eugenics not Bluegenics”, “The cytological approach tries to find out What is the make-up and behaviour of genes” ;“Translocations and deficiencies are bound to cause embarrassment later when synapsis takes place, because some of the genes in the mitotic dance become wallflowers without a partner”, are some examples of phrases which might have been expressed differently.

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