100 YEARS AGO
The result of this inquiry is to prove the existence of a small number of more or less isolated hereditary centres, round which a large part of the total ability of the nation is clustered, with a closeness that rapidly diminishes as the distance of kinship from its centre increases. The materials are derived from the replies to a circular which I sent with a blank schedule, to all fellows of the Royal Society, asking for the names and achievements of their “noteworthy” kinsfolk in each degree of near kinship as specified in the schedule. Noteworthiness was defined as including any success that was, in the opinion of the sender, at least equal in its way to that in which the honour of a fellowship of the Royal Society is held by scientific men. Returns are still dropping in, and now exceed two hundred. They continue to be very acceptable, but I judged it best to content myself with the number received up to a date when I could conveniently work at them, and to publish the preliminary results without delay... the experience gained through this inquiry has strongly confirmed an opinion expressed in my lecture on Eugenics before the Sociological Society... that it would be both feasible and advantageous to make a register of gifted families.
From Nature 11 August 1904.
50 YEARS AGO
The chromosomes of Mus musculus have a high chiasma frequency, and for this reason very loose linkages are to be expected. Many of the problems of linkage and independence in this species may therefore have to be solved by cytogenetic methods rather than the breeding techniques of formal genetics. Among them is the question whether linkage group VII is carried in the pairing segment of the sex chromosome... With the object of obtaining evidence on questions such as this we have induced a number of translocations in the mouse, using X-rays, and have identified linkage groups in eleven of them... Translocation T8 thus offers a means of settling the question whether linkage group VII is sex-linked. The translocation and the sex bivalent should be cytologically recognizable in primary spermatocytes; it should therefore be possible to establish their chromosomal independence or interdependence.
T. C. Carter, Mary F. Lyon & Rita J. S. Phillips