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Mendel’s reaction to Darwin’s provisional hypothesis of pangenesis and the experiment that could not wait

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Fig. 1: Mendel’s double mixed Mirabilis pollination experiment.


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We thank Adrienne Jessop, Julie Hofer, Franjo Weissing, and Claire Domoney for helpful discussion and comments on the manuscript. We thank the reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which helped improve the manuscript. One reviewer pointed out the need to avoid inconsistencies in the use of the words “theory” and “hypothesis”. Here we use these words such that “hypothesis” refers to a testable proposition within an overarching theory. Darwin (1868) used the title “Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis” while Galton (1871) used the form “Darwin’s Provisional Theory of Pangenesis”. Pangenesis is a way of thinking about inheritance that was taken seriously in Mendel’s time. NE gratefully acknowledges receipt of an Institute Strategic Fellowship from the John Innes Centre. PVD thanks KeyGene, for providing a supportive environment for research into the early history of genetics.

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PVD was responsible for researching the original German texts. NE and PVD wrote the manuscript together.

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Correspondence to Peter J. van Dijk.

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van Dijk, P.J., Ellis, T.H.N. Mendel’s reaction to Darwin’s provisional hypothesis of pangenesis and the experiment that could not wait. Heredity 129, 12–16 (2022).

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