Richard Goldschmidt: hopeful monsters and other 'heresies'

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Richard Goldschmidt is remembered today as one of the most controversial biologists of the twentieth century. Although his work on sex determination and physiological genetics earned him accolades from his peers, his rejection of the classical gene and his unpopular theories about evolution significantly damaged his scientific reputation. This article reviews Goldschmidt's life and work, with an emphasis on his controversial views.

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Figure 1: Richard Goldschmidt at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin 1931.


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I thank M. McPeek and the reviewers for their many useful comments, and S. Bickel for her assistance with the arcana of Drosophila genetics.

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