Heredity, by Prof. William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S.

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Heredity, by Prof. William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S.

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Part 1 of 2

Heredity: Address of the President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
Two addresses delivered at the Australia meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
by Prof. William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S.
August 14 and 20, 1914

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As the subject of the addresses which I am to deliver here and in Sydney I take “Heredity.” I shall attempt to give the essence of the discoveries made by Mendelian or analytical methods of study, and I shall ask you to contemplate the deductions which these physiological facts suggest in application both to evolutionary theory at large and to the special case of the natural history of human society.

Recognition of the significance of heredity is modern. The term itself in its scientific sense is no older than Herbert Spencer. Animals and plants are formed as pieces of living material split from the body of the parent organisms. Their powers and faculties are fixed in their physiological origin. They are the consequence of a genetic process, and yet it is only lately that this genetic process has become the subject of systematic research and experiment. The curiosity of naturalists has, of course, always been attracted to such problems; but that accurate knowledge of genetics is of paramount importance in any attempt to understand the nature of living things has only been realized quite lately even by naturalists, and with casual exceptions the laity still know nothing of the matter. Historians debate the past of the human species, and statesmen order its present or profess to guide its future as if the animal man, the unit of their calculations, with his vast diversity of powers, were a homogeneous material, which can be multiplied like shot.

The reason for this neglect lies in ignorance and misunderstanding of the nature of variation, for not until the fact of congenital diversity is grasped, with all that it imports, does knowledge of the system of hereditary transmission stand out as a primary necessity in the construction of any theory of evolution, or any scheme of human polity.

The first full perception of the significance of variation we owe to Darwin. The present generation of evolutionists realizes perhaps more fully than did the scientific world in the last century that the theory of evolution had occupied the thoughts of many and found acceptance with not a few before ever the “Origin” appeared. We have come also to the conviction that the principle of natural selection can not have been the chief factor in delimiting the species of animals and plants, such as we now with fuller knowledge see them actually to be. We are even more skeptical as to the validity of that appeal to changes in the conditions of life as direct causes of modification, upon which latterly at all events Darwin laid much emphasis. But that he was the first to provide a body of fact demonstrating the variability of living things, whatever be its causation, can never be questioned.

There are some older collections of evidence, chiefly the work of the French school, especially of Godron [1] (and I would mention also the almost forgotten essay of Wollaston [2]). These, however, are only fragments in comparison. Darwin regarded variability as a property inherent in living things, and eventually we must consider whether this conception is well founded; but postponing that inquiry for the present, we may declare that with him began a general recognition of variation as a phenomenon widely occurring in nature.

If a population consists of members which are not alike but differentiated, how will their characteristics be distributed among their offspring? This is the problem which the modern student of heredity sets out to investigate. Formerly it was hoped that by the simple inspection of embryological processes the modes of heredity might be ascertained, the actual mechanism by which the offspring is formed from the body of the parent. In that endeavor a noble pile of evidence has been accumulated. All that can be made visible by existing methods has been seen, but we come little if at all nearer to the central mystery. We see nothing that we can analyze further – nothing that can be translated into terms less inscrutable than the physiological events themselves. Not only does embryology give no direct aid, but the failure of cytology is, so far as I can judge, equally complete. The chromosomes of nearly related creatures may be utterly different both in number, size, and form. Only one piece of evidence encourages the old hope that a connection might be traceable between the visible characteristics of the body and those of the chromosomes. I refer of course to the accessory chromosome, which in many animals distinguishes the spermatozoon about to form a female in fertilization. Even it, however, can not be claimed as the cause of sexual differentiation, for it may be paired in forms closely allied to those in which it is unpaired or accessory. The distinction may be present or wanting, like any other secondary sexual character. Indeed, so long as no one can show consistent distinctions between the cytological characters of somatic tissues in the same individual we can scarcely expect to perceive such distinctions between the chromosomes of the various types.

For these methods of attack we now substitute another, less ambitious, perhaps, because less comprehensive, but not less direct. If we can not see how a fowl by its egg and its sperm gives rise to a chicken or how a sweet pea from its ovule and its pollen grain produces another sweet pea, we at least can watch the system by which the differences between the various kinds of fowls or between the various kinds of sweet peas are distributed among the offspring. By thus breaking the main problem up into its parts we give ourselves fresh chances. This analytical study we call Mendelian because Mendel was the first to apply it. To be sure, he did not approach the problem by any such line of reasoning as I have sketched. His object was to determine the genetic definiteness of species; but though in his writings he makes no mention of inheritance it is clear that he had the extension in view. By cross breeding he combined the characters of varieties in mongrel individuals and set himself to see how these characters would be distributed among the individuals of subsequent generations. Until he began this analysis nothing but the vaguest answers to such a question had been attempted. The existence of any orderly system of descent was never even suspected. In their manifold complexity human characteristics seem to follow no obvious system, and the fact was taken as a fair sample of the working of heredity.

Misconception was especially brought in by describing descent in terms of “blood.” The common speech uses expressions such as consanguinity, pure-blooded, half-blood, and the like, which call up a misleading picture to the mind. Blood is in some respects a fluid, and thus it is supposed that this fluid can be both quantitatively and qualitatively diluted with other bloods, just as treacle can be diluted with water. Blood in primitive physiology being the peculiar vehicle of life, at once its essence and its corporeal abode, these ideas of dilution and compounding of characters in the commingling of bloods inevitably suggest that the ingredients of the mixture once combined are inseparable, that they can be brought together in any relative amounts, and in short that in heredity we are concerned mainly with a quantitative problem. Truer notions of genetic physiology are given by the Hebrew expression “seed.” If we speak of a man as “of the blood royal” we think at once of plebeian dilution, and we wonder how much of the royal fluid is likely to be “in his veins”; but if we say he is “of the seed of Abraham” we feel something of the permanence and indestructibility of that germ which can be divided and scattered among all nations, but remains recognizable in type and characteristics after 1,000 years.

I knew a breeder who had a chest containing bottles of colored liquids by which he used to illustrate the relationships of his dogs, pouring from one to another and titrating them quantitatively to illustrate their pedigrees. Galton was beset by the same kind of mistake when he promulgated his “Law of Ancestral Heredity.” With modern research all this has been cleared away. The allotment of characteristics among offspring is not accomplished by the exudation of drops of a tincture representing the sum of the characteristics of the parent organism, but by a process of cell division, ion which numbers of these characters, or rather the elements upon which they depend, are sorted out among the resulting germ cells in an orderly fashion. What these elements, or factors as we call them, are we do not know. That they are in some way directly transmitted by the material of the ovum and of the spermatozoon is obvious, but it seems to me unlikely that they are in any simple or literal sense material particles. I suspect rather that their properties depend on some phenomenon of arrangement. However that may be, analytical breeding proves that it is according to the distribution of these genetic factors, to use a noncommittal term, that the characters of the offspring are decided. The first business of experimental genetics is to determine their number and interactions, and then to make an analysis of the various types of life.

Now the ordinary genealogical trees, such as those which the studbooks provide in the case of the domestic animals, or the Heralds’ College provides in the case of man, tell nothing of all this. Such methods of depicting descent can not even show the one thing they are devised to show – purity of “blood.” For at last we know the physiological meaning of that expression. An organism is pure bred when it has been formed by the union in fertilization of two germ cells which are alike in the factors they bear; and since the factors for the several characteristics are independent of each other, this question of purity must be separately considered for each of them. A man, for example, may be pure bred in respect of his musical ability and crossbred in respect of the color of his eyes or the shape of his mouth. Though we know nothing of the essential nature of these factors, we know a good deal of their powers. They may confer height, color, shape, instincts, powers both of mind and body; indeed, so many of the attributes which animals and plant possess that we feel justified in the expectation that with continued analysis they will be proved to be responsible for most if not all of the differences by which the varying individuals of any species are distinguished from each other. I will not assert that the greater differences which characterize distinct species are due generally to such independent factors, but that is the conclusion to which the available evidence points. All this is now so well understood, and has been so often demonstrated and expounded, that details of evidence are now superfluous.

But for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with such work let me briefly epitomize its main features and consequences. Since genetic factors are definite things, either present in or absent from any germ cell, the individual may be either “pure bred” for any particular factor, or its absence, if he is constituted by the union of two germ cells both possessing or both destitute of that factor. If the individual is thus pure, all his germ cells will in that respect be identical, for they are simply bits of the similar germ cells which united in fertilization to produce the parent organism. We thus reach the essential principle, that an organism can not pass onto offspring a factor which it did not itself receive in fertilization. Parents, therefore, which are both destitute of a given factor can only produce offspring equally destitute of it; and, on the contrary, parents both pure bred for the presence of a factor produce offspring equally pure bred for its presence. Whereas the germ cells of the pure bred are all alike, those of the crossbred, which results from the union of dissimilar germ cells, are mixed in character. Each positive factor segregates from its negative opposite, so that some germ cells carry the factor and some do not. Once the factors have been identified by their effects, the average composition of the several kinds of families formed from the various matings can be predicted.

Only those who have themselves witnessed the fixed operations of these simple rules can feel their full significance. We come to look behind the simulacrum of the individual body and we endeavor to disintegrate its features into the genetic elements by whose union the body was formed. Set out in cold general phrases such discoveries may seem remote from ordinary life. Become familiar with them and you will find your outlook on the world has changed. Watch the effects of segregation among the living things with which you have to do – plants, fowls, dogs, horses, that mixed concourse of humanity we call the English race, your friends’ children, your own children, yourself – and, however firmly imagination be restrained to the bonds of the known and the proved, you will feel something of that range of insight into nature which Mendelism has begun to give. The question is often asked whether there are not also in operation systems of descent quite other than those contemplated by the Mendelian rules. I myself have expected such discoveries, but hitherto none have been plainly demonstrated. It is true we are often puzzled by the failure of a parental type to reappear in its completeness after a cross – the merino sheep or the fantail pigeon, for example. These exceptions may still be plausibly ascribed to the interference of a multitude of factors, a suggestion not easy to disprove; though it seems to me equally likely that segregation has been in reality imperfect. Of the descent of quantitative characters we still known practically nothing. These and hosts of difficult cases remain almost untouched. In particular the discovery of E. [Erwin] Baur, and the evidence of Winkler in regard to his “graft hybrids,” both showing that the subepidermal layer of a plant – the layer from which the germ cells are derived – may bear exclusively the characters of a part only of the soma, give hints of curious complications, and suggest that in plants at least the interrelations between soma and gamete may be far less simple than we have supposed. Nevertheless, speaking generally, we see nothing to indicate that qualitative characters descend, whether in plants or animals, according to systems which are incapable of factorial representation.

The body of evidence accumulated by this method of analysis is now very large, and is still growing fast by the labors of many workers. Progress is also beginning along many novel and curious lines. The details are too technical for inclusion here. Suffice it to say that not only have we proof that segregation affects a vast range of characteristics, but in the course of our analysis phenomena of most unexpected kinds have been encountered. Some of these things 20 years ago must have seemed inconceivable. For example, the two sets of sex organs, male and female, of the same plant may not be carrying the same characteristics; in some animals characteristics, quite independent of sex, may be distributed solely or predominantly to one sex; in certain species the male may be breeding true to its own type, while the female is permanently mongrel, throwing off eggs of a distinct variety in addition to those of its own type; characteristics, essentially independent, may be associated in special combinations which are largely retained in the next generation, so that among the grandchildren there is numerical preponderance of those combinations which existed in the grandparents – a discovery which introduces us to a new phenomenon of polarity in the organism.

We are accustomed to the fact that the fertilized egg has a polarity, a front and hind end, for example; but we have now to recognize that it, or the primitive germinal cells formed from it, may have another polarity shown in the groupings of the parental elements. I am entirely skeptical as to the occurrence of segregation solely in the maturation of the germ cells, [3] preferring at present to regard it as a special case of that patchwork condition we see in so many plants. These mosaics may break up, emitting bud sports at various cell divisions, and I suspect that the great regularity seen in the F2 ratios of the cereals, for example, is a consequence of very late segregation, whereas the excessive irregularity found in other cases may be taken to indicate that segregation can happen at earlier stages of differentiation.

The paradoxical descent of color blindness and other sex-limited conditions, formerly regarded as an inscrutable caprice of nature, has been represented with approximate correctness, and we already know something as to the way, or, perhaps, I should say ways, in which the determination of sex is accomplished in some of the forms of life, though, I hasten to add, we have no inkling as to any method by which that determination may be influenced or directed. It is obvious that such discoveries have bearings on most of the problems, whether theoretical or practical, in which animals and plants are concerned, Permanence or change of type, perfection of type, purity or mixture of race, “racial development,” the succession of forms, from being vague phrases expressing matters of degree, are now seen to be capable of acquiring physiological meanings, already to some extent assigned with precision. For the naturalist – and it is to him that I am especially addressing myself to-day – these things are chiefly significant as relating to the history of organic beings – the theory of evolution, to use our modern name. They have, as I shall endeavor to show in my second address to be given in Sydney, an immediate reference to the conduct of human society.

I suppose that everyone is familiar in outline with the theory of the origin of species which Darwin promulgated. Through the last 50 years this theme of the natural selection of favored races has been developed and expounded in writings innumerable. Favored races certainly can replace others. The argument is sound, but we are doubtful of its value. For us that debate stands adjourned. We go to Darwin for his incomparable collection of facts. We would fain emulate his scholarship, his width, and his power of exposition, but to us he speaks no more with philosophical authority. We read his scheme of evolution as we would those of Lucretius or of Lamarck, delighting in their simplicity and their courage. The practical and experimental study of variation and heredity has not merely opened a new field; it has given a new point of view and new standards of criticism. Naturalists may still be found expounding teleological systems [4] which would have delighted Dr. Pangloss himself, but at the present time few are misled. The student of genetics knows that the time for the development of theory is not yet. He would rather stick to the seed pan and the incubator.

In face of what we now know of the distribution of variability in nature the scope claimed for natural selection in determining the fixity of species must be greatly reduced. The doctrine of the survival of the fittest is undeniable so long as it is applied to the organism as a whole, but to attempt by this principle to find value in all definiteness of parts and functions, and in the name of science to see fitness everywhere is mere eighteenth-century optimism. Yet it was in application to the parts, to the details of specific difference, to the spots on the peacock’s tail, to the coloring of an orchid flower, and hosts of such examples, that the potency of natural selection was urged with the strongest emphasis. Shorn of these pretensions the doctrine of the survival of favored races is a truism, helping scarcely at all to account for the diversity of species. Tolerance plays almost as considerable a part. By these admissions almost the last shred of that teleological fustian with which Victorian philosophy loved to clothe the theory of evolution is destroyed. Those who would proclaim that whatever is is right will be wise henceforth to base this faith frankly on the impregnable rock of superstition and to abstain from direct appeals to natural fact.

My predecessor said last year that in physics the age is one of rapid progress and profound skepticism. In at least as high a degree this is true of biology, and as a chief characteristic of modern evolutionary thought we must confess also to a deep but irksome humility in presence of great vital problems. Every theory of evolution must be such as to accord with the facts of physics and chemistry, a primary necessity to which our predecessors paid small heed. For them the unknown was a rich mine of possibilities on which they could freely draw. For us it is rather an impenetrable mountain out of which the truth can be chipped in rare and isolated fragments. Of the physics and chemistry of life we know next to nothing. Somehow the characters of living things are bound up in properties of colloids, and are largely determined by the chemical powers of enzymes, but the study of these classes of matter has only just begun. Living things are found by a simple experiment to have powers undreamt of, and who knows what may be behind?

Naturally we turn aside from generalities. It is no time to discuss the origin of the mollusca or of dicotyledons, while we are not even sure how it came to pass that Primula abconica has in 25 years produced its abundant new forms almost under our eyes. Knowledge of heredity has so reacted on our conceptions of variation that very competent men are even denying that variation in the old sense is a genuine occurrence at all. Variation is postulated as the basis of all evolutionary change. Do we then as a matter of fact find in the world about us variations occurring of such a kind as to warrant faith in a contemporary progressive evolution? Till lately most of us would have said “yes” without misgiving. We should have pointed, as Darwin did, to the immense range of diversity seen in many wild species, so commonly that the difficulty is to define the types themselves. Still more conclusive seemed the profusion of forms in the various domesticated animals and plants, most of them incapable of existing even for a generation in the wild state, and therefore fixed unquestionably by human selection. These, at least, for certain, are new forms, often distinct enough to pass for species, which have arisen by variation. But when analysis is applied to this mass of variation the matter wears a different aspect. Closely examined, what is the “variability” of wild species? What is the natural fact which is denoted by the statement that a given species exhibits must variation? Generally one of two things; either that the individuals collected in one locality differ among themselves, or perhaps more often that samples from separate localities differ from each other. As direct evidence of variation it is clearly to the first of these phenomena that we must have recourse – the heterogeneity of a population breeding together in one area. This heterogeneity may be in any degree, ranging from slight differences that systematists would disregard, to a complex variability such as we find in some moths, where there is an abundance of varieties so distinct that many would be classified as specific forms, but for the fact that all are freely breeding together. Naturalists formerly supposed that any of these varieties might be bred from any of the others. Just as the reader of novels is prepared to find that any kind of parents might have any kind of children in the course of the story, so was the evolutionist ready to believe that any pair of moths might produce any of the varieties included in the species. Genetic analysis has disposed of all these mistakes. We have no longer the smallest doubt that in all these examples the varieties stand in a regular descending order, and that they are simply terms in a series of combinations of factors separately transmitted, of which each may be present or absent.

The appearance of contemporary variability proves to be an illusion. Variation from step to step in the series must occur either by the addition or by the loss of a factor. Now, of the origin of new forms by loss there seems to me to be fairly clear evidence, but of the contemporary acquisition of any new factor I see no satisfactory proof, though I admit there are rare examples which may be so interpreted. We are left with a picture of variation utterly different from that which we saw at first. Variation now stands out as a definitely physiological event. We have done with the notion that Darwin came latterly to favor, that large differences can arise by accumulation of small differences. Such small differences are often mere ephemeral effects of conditions of life, and as such are not transmissible; but even small differences, when truly genetic, are factorial like the larger ones, and there is not the slightest reason for supposing that they are capable of summation. As to the origin or source of these positive separable factors, we are without any indication or surmise. By their effects we know them to be definite, as definite, say, as the organisms which produce diseases; but how they arise and how they come to take part in the composition of the living creature so that when present they are treated in cell-division as constituents of the germs, we can not conjecture.

It was a commonplace of evolutionary theory that at least the domestic animals have been developed from a few wild types. Their origin was supposed to present no difficulty. The various races of fowl, for instance, all came from Gallus bankiva, the Indian jungle fowl. So we are taught; but try to reconstruct the steps in their evolution and you realize your hopeless ignorance. To be sure there are breeds, such as Black-red Game and Brown Leghorns, which have the colors of the jungle fowl, though they differ in shape and other respects. As we know so little as yet of the genetics of shape, let us assume that those transitions could be got over. Suppose, further, as is probable, that the absence of the maternal instinct in the Leghorn is due to loss of one factor which the jungle fowl possesses. So far we are on fairly safe ground. But how about White Leghorns? Their origin may seem easy to imagine, since white varieties have often arisen in well-authenticated cases. But the white of White Leghorns is not, as white in nature often is, due to the loss of the color elements, but to the action of something which inhibits their expression. Whence did that something come? The same question may be asked respecting the heavy breeds, such as Malays or Indian Game. Each of these is a separate introduction from the East. To suppose that these, with their peculiar combs and close feathering, could have been developed from preexisting European breeds is very difficult. On the other hand, there is no wild species now living any more like them. We may, of course, postulate that there was once such a species, now lost. That is quite conceivable, though the suggestion is purely speculative. I might thus go through the list of domesticated animals and plants of ancient origin and again and again we should be driven to this suggestion, that many of their distinctive characters must have been derived from some wild original now lost. Indeed, to this unsatisfying conclusion almost every careful writer on such subjects is now reduced. If we turn to modern evidence the case looks even worse. The new breeds of domestic animals made in recent times are the carefully selected products of recombination of preexisting breeds. Most of the new varieties of cultivated plants are the outcome of deliberate crossing. There is generally no doubt in the matter. We have pretty full histories of these crosses in gladiolus, orchids, cineraria, begonia, calceolaria, pelargonium, etc. A very few certainly arise from a single origin. The sweet pea is the clearest case, and there are others which I should name with hesitation. The cyclamen is one of them, but we know that efforts to cross cyclamens were made early in the cultural history of the plant, and they may well have been successful. Several plants for which single origins are alleged, such as the Chinese primrose, the dahlia, and tobacco, came to us in an already domesticated state, and their origins remain altogether mysterious. Formerly single origins were generally presumed, but at the present time numbers of the chief products of domestication, dogs, horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, wheat, oats, rice, plums, cherries, have in turn been accepted as “polyphyletic” or, in other words, derived from several distinct forms. The reason that has led to these judgments is that the distinctions between the chief varieties can be traced as far back as the evidence reaches, and that these distinctions are so great, so far transcending anything that we actually know variation capable of effecting, that it seems pleasanter to postpone the difficulty, relegating the critical differentiation to some misty antiquity into which we shall not be asked to penetrate. For it need scarcely be said that this is mere procrastination. If the origin of a form under domestication is hard to imagine, it becomes no easier to conceive of such enormous deviations from type coming to pass in the wild state. Examine any two thoroughly distinct species which meet each other in their distribution, as for instance; Lychnis diurnal and vespertina do. In areas of overlap are many intermediate forms. These used to be taken to be transitional steps, and the specific distinctness of vespertina and diurnal was on that account questioned. Once it is known that these supposed intergrades are merely mongrels between the two species the transition from one to the other is practically beyond our powers of imagination to conceive. If both these can survive, why has their common parent perished? Why, when they cross, do they not reconstruct it instead of producing partially sterile hybrids? I take this example to show how entirely the facts were formerly misinterpreted.

When once the idea of a true-breeding – or, as we say, homozygous – type is grasped, the problem of variation becomes an insistent oppression. What can make such a type vary? We know, of course, one way by which novelty can be introduced – by crossing. Cross two well-marked varieties – for instance, of Chinese Primula – each breeding true, and in the second generation by mere recombination of the various factors which the two parental types severally introduced, there will be a profusion of forms, utterly unlike each other, distinct also from the original parents. Many of these can be bred true, and if found wild could certainly be described as good species. Confronted by the difficulty I have put before you, and contemplating such amazing polymorphism in the second generation from a cross in Antirrhinum, Lotsy has lately with great courage suggested to us that all variation may be due to such crossing. I do not disguise my sympathy with this effort. After the blind complacency of conventional evolutionists it is refreshing to meet so frank an acknowledgment of the hardness of the problem. Lotsy’s utterance will at least do something to expose the artificiality of systematic zoology and botany. Whatever might or might not be revealed by experimental breeding, it is certain that without such tests we are merely guessing when we profess to distinguish specific limits and to declare that this is a species and that a variety. The only definable unit in classification is the homozygous form which breeds true. When we presume to say that such and such differences are trivial and such others valid, we are commonly embarking on a course for which there is no physiological warrant. Who could have foreseen that the apple and the pear – so like each other that their botanical differences are evasive – could not be crossed together, though species of Anirrhinum so totally unlike each other as majus and molle can be hybridized, as [Erwin] Baur as shown, without a sign of impaired fertility? Jordan was perfectly right. The true-breeding forms which he distinguished in such multitudes are real entities, though the great systematists, dispensing with such laborious analysis, have pooled them into arbitrary Linnean species, for the convenience of collectors and for the simplification of catalogues. Such pragmatical considerations may mean much in the museum, but with them the student of the physiology of variation has nothing to do. These “little species,” finely cut, true breeding, and innumerable mongrels between them, are what he finds when he examines any so-called variable type. On analysis the semblance of variability disappears, and the illusion is shown to be due to segregation and recombination of series of factors on predetermined lines. As soon as the “little species” are separated out they are found to be fixed. In fact of such a result we may well ask with Lotsy, Is there such a thing as spontaneous variation anywhere? His answer is that there is not.

Abandoning the attempt to show that positive factors can be added to the original stock, we have further to confess that we can not often actually prove variation by loss of factor to be a real phenomenon. Lotsy doubts whether even this phenomenon occurs. The sole source of variation, in his view, is crossing. But here I think he is on unsafe ground. When a well-established variety like “Crimson King” primula, bred by Messrs. Sutton in thousands of individuals, gives off, as it did a few years since, a salmon-colored variety, “Coral King,” we might claim this as a genuine example of variation by loss. The new variety is a simple recessive. It differs from “Crimson King” only in one respect, the loss of a single color-factor, and, of course, bred true from its origin. To account for the appearance of such a new form by any process of crossing is exceedingly difficult. From the nature of the case there can have been no cross since “Crimson King” was established, and hence the salmon must have been concealed as a recessive from the first origin of that variety, even when it was represented by very few individuals, probably only by a single one. Surely, if any of these had been heterozygous for salmon this recessive could hardly have failed to appear during the process of self-fertilization by which the stock would be multiplied, even though that selfing may not have been strictly carried out. Examples like this seem to me practically conclusive. [5] They can be challenged, but not, I think, successfully. Then again in regard to those variations in number and division of parts which we call meristic, the reference of these to original cross-breeding is surely barred by the circumstances in which they often occur. There remain also the rare examples mentioned already in which a single wild origin may with much confidence be assumed. In spite of repeated trials, no one has yet succeeded in crossing the sweet pea with any other leguminous species. We know that early in its cultivated history it produced at least two marked varieties, which I can only conceive of as spontaneously arising, though, no doubt, the profusion of forms we now have was made by the crossing of those original varieties. I mention the sweet pea thus prominently for another reason, that it introduces us to another though subsidiary form of variation, which may be described as a fractionation of factors. Some of my Mendelian colleagues have spoken of genetic factors as permanent and indestructible. Relative permanence in a sense they have, for they commonly come out unchanged after segregation. But I am satisfied that they may occasionally undergo a quantitative disintegration, with the consequence that varieties are produced intermediate between the integral varieties from which they were derived. These disintegrated conditions I have spoken of as subtraction – or reduction – stages. For example, the Picotee Sweet Peak, with its purple edges, can surely be nothing but a condition produced by the factor which ordinarily makes the fully purple flower, quantitatively diminished. The pied animal, such as the Dutch rabbit, must similarly be regarded as the result of partial defect of the chromogen from which the pigment is formed, or conceivably of the factor which effects its oxidation. On such lines I think we may with great confidence interpret all those intergrading forms which breed true and are not produced by factorial interference.

It is to be inferred that these fractional degradations are the consequence of irregularities in segregation. We constantly see irregularities in the ordinary meristic processes and in the distribution of somatic differentiation. We are familiar with half segments, with imperfect twinning, with leaves partially petaloid, with petals partially sepaloid. All these are evidences of departures from the normal regularity in the rhythms of repetition or in those waves of differentiation by which the qualities are sorted out among the parts of the body. Similarly, when in segregation the qualities are sorted out among the germ cells in certain critical cell divisions, we can not expect these differentiating divisions to be exempt from the imperfections and irregularities which are found in all the grosser divisions that we can observe. If I am right, we shall find evidence of these irregularities in the association of unconformable numbers with the appearance of the novelties which I have called fractional. In passing let us note how the history of the sweet pea belies those ideas of a continuous evolution with which we had formerly to contend. The big varieties came first. The little ones have arisen later, as I suggest, by fractionation. Presented with a collection of modern sweet peas, how prettily would the devotees of continuity have arranged them in a graduated series, showing how ever intergrade could be found, passing from the full color of the wild Sicilian species in one direction to white, in the other to the deep purple of “Black Prince,” though happily we know these two to be among the earliest to have appeared.

Having in view these and other considerations which might be developed, I feel no reasonable doubt that, though we may have to forego a claim to variations by addition of factors, yet variation both by loss of factors and by franctionation of factors is a genuine phenomenon of contemporary nature. If then we have to dispense, as seems likely, with any addition from without we must begin seriously to consider whether the course of evolution can at all reasonably be represented as an unpacking of an original complex which contained within itself the whole range of diversity which living things present. I do not suggest that we should come to a judgment as to what is or is not probable in these respects. As I have said already, this is no time for devising theories of evolution, and I propound none. But, as we have got to recognize that there has been an evolution, that somehow or other the forms of life have arisen from fewer forms, we may as well see whether we are limited to the old view that evolutionary progress is from the simple to the complex, and whether after all it is conceivable that the process was the other way about. When the facts of genetic discovery become familiarly known to biologists and cease to be the preoccupation of a few, as they still are, many and long discussions must inevitably arise on the question, and I offer these remarks to prepare the ground. I ask you simply to open your minds to this possibility. It involves a certain effort. We have to reverse our habitual modes of thought. At first it may seem rank absurdity to suppose that the primordial form or forms of protoplasm could have contained complexity enough to produce the divers types of life. But is it easier to imagine that these powers could have been conveyed by extrinsic additions? Of what nature could these additions be? Additions of material can not surely be in question. We are told that salts of iron in the soil may turn a pink hydrangea blue. The iron can not be passed on to the next generation. How can the iron multiply itself? The power to assimilate the iron is all that can be transmitted. A disease-producing organism like the pebrine of silkworms can in a very few cases be passed on through the germ cells. Such an organism can multiply and can produce its characteristic effects in the next generation. But it does not become part of the invaded host, and we can not conceive it taking part in the geometrically ordered processes of segregation. These illustrations may seem too gross; but what refinement will meet the requirements of the problem, that the thing introduced must be, as the living organism itself is, capable of multiplication and of subordinating itself in a definite system of segregation? That which is conferred in variation must rather itself be a change – not of material but of arrangement, or of motion. The invocation of additions extrinsic to the organism does not seriously help us to imagine how the power to change can be conferred, and if it proves that hope in that direction must be abandoned, I think we lose very little. By the rearrangement of a very moderate number of things we soon reach a number of possibilities practically infinite.

That primordial life may have been of small dimensions need not disturb us. Quantity is of no account in these considerations. Shakespeare once existed as a speck of protoplasm not so big as a small pin’s head. To this nothing was added that would not equally well have served to build up a baboon or a rat. Let us consider how far we can get by the process of removal of what we call “epistatic” factors, in other words, those that control, mask, or suppress underlying powers and faculties. I have spoken of the vast range of colors exhibited by modern sweet peas. There is no question that these have been derived from the one wild bicolor form by a process of successive removals. When the vast range of form, size, and flavor to be found among the cultivated apples is considered, it seems difficult to suppose that all this variety is hidden in the wild crab apple. I can not positively assert that this is so, but I think all familiar with Mendelian analysis would agree with me that it is probable and that the wild crab contains presumably inhibiting elements which the cultivated kinds have lost. The legend that the seedlings of cultivated apples become crabs is often repeated. After many inquiries among the raisers of apple seedlings, I have never found an authentic case; once only even an alleged case, and this on inquiry proved to be unfounded. I have confidence that the artistic gifts of mankind will prove to be due not to something added to the makeup of an ordinary man but to the absence of factors which in the normal person inhibit the development of these gifts. They are almost beyond doubt to be looked upon as releases of powers normally suppressed. The instrument is there, but it is “stopped down.” The scents of flowers or fruits, the finely repeated divisions that give its quality in the wool of the Merino or, in an analogous case, the multiplicity of quills to the tail of the fantail pigeon are in all probability other examples of such releases. You may ask what guides us in the discrimination of the positive factors and how we can satisfy ourselves that the appearance of a quality is due to loss. It must be conceded that in these determinations we have as yet recourse only to the effects of dominance. When the tall pea is crossed with the dwarf, since the offspring is tall we say that the tall parent passed a factor into the crossbred which makes it tall. The pure tall parent had two doses of this factor, the dwarf had none; and since the crossbred is tall we say that one dose of the dominant tallness is enough to give the full height. The reasoning seems unanswerable. But the commoner result of crossing is the production of a form intermediate between the two pure parental types. In such examples we see clearly enough that the full parental characteristics can only appear when they are homozygous – forms from similar germ cells – and that one dose is insufficient to produce either effect fully. When this is so we can never be sure which side is positive and which negative. Since, then, when dominance is incomplete we find ourselves in this difficulty, we perceive that the amount of the effect is our only criterion in distinguishing the positive from the negative, and when we return, even to the example of the tall and dwarf peas, the matter is not so certain as it seemed. Prof. Cockerell lately found among thousands of yellow sunflowers one which was partly red. By breeding he raised from this a form wholly red. Evidently the yellow and the wholly red are the pure forms and the partially red is the heterozygote. We may then say that the yellow is YY with two doses of a positive factor which inhibits the development of pigment, the red is Yy with no dose of the inhibitor, and the partially red are Yy with only one dose of it. But we might be tempted to think the red was a positive characteristic and invert the expressions, representing the red as RR, the partly red as Rr, and the yellow as rr. According as we adopt the one or the other system of expression we shall interpret the evolutionary change as one of loss or as one of addition. May we not interpret the other apparent new dominants in the same way? The white dominant in the fowl or in the Chinese primula can inhibit color. But may it not be that the original colored fowl or primula had two doses of a factor which inhibited this inhibitor? The pepper moth, Amphidasys betularia, produced in England about 1840 a black variety, then a novelty, now common in certain areas, which behaves as a full dominant. The pure blacks are no blacker than the crossbred. Though at first sight it seems that the black must have been something added, we can without absurdity suggest that the normal is the term in which two doses of inhibitor are present, and that in the absence of one of them the black appears.

In spite of seeming perversity, therefore, we have to admit that there is no evolutionary change which in the present state of our knowledge we can positively declare to be not due to loss. When this has been conceded it is natural to ask whether the removal of inhibiting factors may not be invoked in alleviation of the necessity which has driven students of the domestic breeds to refer their diversities to multiple origins. Something, no doubt, is to be hoped for in that direction, but not until much better and more extensive knowledge of what variation by loss may effect in the living body can we have any real assurance that this difficulty has been obviated. We should be greatly helped by some indication as to whether the origin of life has been single or multiple. Modern opinion is, perhaps, inclining to the multiple theory, but we have no real evidence. Indeed, the problem still stands outside the range of scientific investigation, and when we hear the spontaneous formation of formaldehyde mentioned as a possible first step in the origin of life we think of Harry Lauder in the character of a Glasgow schoolboy pulling out his treasures from his pocket – “That’s a washer – for makkin’ motor cars.”

As the evidence stands at present all that can be safely added in amplification of the evolutionary creed may be summed up in the statement that variation occurs as a definite event, often producing a sensibly discontinuous result; that the succession of varieties comes to pass by the elevation and establishment of sporadic groups of individuals owing their origin to such isolated events; and that the change which we see as a nascent variation is often, perhaps always, one of loss. Modern research lends not the smallest encouragement or sanction to the view that gradual evolution occurs by the transformation of masses of individuals, though that fancy has fixed itself on popular imagination. The isolated events to which variation is due are evidently changes in the germinal tissues, probably in the manner in which they divide. It is likely that the occurrence of these variations is wholly irregular, and as to their causation we are absolutely without surmise or even plausible speculation. Distinct types once arisen, no doubt a profusion of the forms called species have been derived from them by simple crossing and subsequent recombination. New species may be now in course of creation by this means, but the limits of the process are obviously narrow. On the other hand, we see no changes in progress around us in the contemporary world which we can imagine likely to culminate in the evolution of forms distinct in the larger sense. By intercrossing dogs, jackals, and wolves new forms of these types can be made, some of which may be species, but I see no reason to think that from such material a fox could be bred in indefinite time or that dogs could be bred from foxes.

Whether science will hereafter discover that certain groups can by peculiarities in their genetic physiology be declared to have a prerogative quality justifying their recognition as species in the old sense, and that the differences of others are of such a subordinate degree that they may in contrast be termed varieties, further genetic research alone can show. I myself anticipate that such a discovery will be made, but I can not defend the opinion with positive conviction.

Somewhat reluctantly, and rather from a sense of duty, I have devoted most of this address to the evolutionary aspects of genetic research. We can not keep these things out of our heads, though sometimes we wish we could. The outcome, as you will have seen, is negative, destroying much that till lately passed for gospel. Destruction may be useful, but it is a low kind of work. We are just about where Boyle was in the seventeenth century. We can dispose of Alchemy, but we can not make more than a quasi-chemistry. We are awaiting our Priestly and our Mendeleeff. In truth it is not these wider aspects of genetics that are at present our chief concern. They will come in their time. The great advances of science are made like those of evolution, not by imperceptible mass improvement, but by the sporadic birth of penetrative genius. The journeymen follow after him, widening and clearing up, as we are doing along the track that Mendel found.
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Re: Heredity, by Prof. William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S.

Postby admin » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:20 am

Part 2 of 2

Part II.

At Melbourne I spoke of the new knowledge of the properties of living things which Mendelian analysis has brought us. I indicated how these discoveries are affecting our outlook on that old problem of natural history, the origin and nature of species, and the chief conclusion I drew was the negative one, that, though we must hold to our faith in the evolution of species, there is little evidence as to how it has come about and no clear proof that the process is continuing in any considerable degree at the present time. The thought uppermost in our minds is that knowledge of the nature of life is altogether too slender to warrant speculation on these fundamental subjects. Did we presume to offer such speculations they would have no more value than those which alchemists might have made as to the nature of the elements. But though in rehgard to these theoretical aspects we must confess to such deep ignorance, enough has been learned of the general course of heredity within a single species to justify many practical conclusions which can not in the main be shaken. I propose now to develop some of these conclusions in regard to our own species – man.

In my former address I mentioned the condition of certain animals and plants which are what we call “polymorphic.” Their populations consist of individuals of many types, though they breed freely together with perfect fertility. In cases of this kind which have been sufficiently investigated it has been found that these distinctions – sometimes very great and affecting most diverse features of organization – are due to the presence or absence of elements, or factors, as we call them, which are treated in heredity as separate entities. These factors and their combinations produce the characteristics which we perceive. No individual can acquire a particular characteristic unless the requisite factors entered into the composition of that individual at fertilization, being received either from the father or from the mother, or from both, and consequently no individual can pass on to his offspring positive characters which he does not himself possess. Rules of this kind have already been traced in operation in the human species, and though I admit that an assumption of some magnitude is involved when we extend the application of the same system to human characteristics in general, yet the assumption is one which I believe we are fully justified in making. With little hesitation we can now declare that the potentialities and aptitudes, physical as well as mental, sex, colors, powers of work or invention, liability to diseases, possible duration of life, and the other features by which the members of a mixed population differ from each other, are determined from the moment of fertilization, and by all that we know of heredity in the forms of life with which we can experiment we are compelled to believe that these qualities are in the main distributed on a factorial system. By changes in the outward conditions of life the expression of some of these powers and features may be excited or restrained. For the development of some an external opportunity is needed, and if that be withheld the character is never seen any more than if the body be starved can the full height be attained, but such influences are not superficial and do not alter the genetic constitution.

The factors which the individual receives from his parents and no others are those which he can transmit to his offspring; and if a factor was received from one parent only, not more than half the offspring, on an average, will inherit it. What is it that has so long prevented mankind from discovering such simple facts? Primarily the circumstance that as man must have two parents it is not possible quite easily to detect the contributions of each. The individual body is a double structure, whereas the germ cells are single. Two germ cells unit to produce each individual body, and the ingredients they respectively contribute interact in ways that leave the ultimate product a medley in which it is difficult to identify the several ingredients. When, however, their effects are conspicuous the task is by no means impossible. In part also even physiologists have been blinded by the survival of ancient and obscurantist conceptions of the nature of man by which they were discouraged from the application of any rigorous analysis. Medical literature still abounds with traces of these archaisms, and, indeed, it is only quite recently that prominent horse breeders have come to see that the dam matters as much as the sire. For them, though vast pecuniary considerations were involved, the old “homunculus” theory was good enough. We were amazed at the notions of genetic physiology which Prof. Baldwin Spencer encountered in his wonderful researches among the natives of Central Australia; but in truth, if we reflect that these problems have engaged the attention of civilized man for ages, the fact that he, with all his powers of recording and deduction, failed to discover any part of the Mendelian system is almost as amazing. The popular notion that any parents can have any kind of children within the racial limits is contrary to all experience, yet we have gravely entertained such ideas. As I had said elsewhere, the truth might have been found out at any period in the world’s history if only pedigrees had been drawn the right way up. If, instead of exhibiting the successive pairs of progenitors who have contributed to the making of an ultimate individual, some one had had the idea of setting out the posterity of a single ancestor who possessed a marked feature such as the Hapsburg lip, and showing the transmission of this feature along some of the descending branches and the permanent loss of the feature in collaterals, the essential truth that heredity can be expressed in terms of presence and absence must have at once become apparent. For the descendant is not, as he appears in the conventional pedigree, a sort of pool into which each tributary ancestral stream has poured something, but rather a conglomerate of ingredient characters taken from his progenitors in such a way that some ingredients are represented and others are omitted.

Let me not, however, give the impression that the unraveling of such descents is easy. Even with fairly full details, which in the case of man are very rarely to be had, many complications occur, often preventing us from obtaining more than a rough general indication of the system of descent. The nature of these complications we partly understand from our experience of animals and plants which are amenable to breeding under careful restrictions, and we know that they are mostly referable to various effects of interaction between factors by which the presence of some is masked.

Necessarily the clearest evidence of regularity in the inheritance of human characteristics has been obtained in regard to the descend of marked abnormalities of structure and congenital diseases. Of the descent of ordinary distinctions such as are met with in the normal healthy population we know little for certain. Hurst’s evidence, that two parents both with light-colored eyes – in the strict sense, meaning that no pigment is present on the front of the iris – do not have dark-eyed children, still stand almost alone in this respect. With regard to the inheritance of other color-characteristics some advance has been made, but everything points to the inference that the genetics of color and many other features in man will prove exceptionally complex. There are, however, plenty of indications of system comparable with those which we trace in various animals and plants, and we are assured that to extend and clarify such evidence is only a matter of careful analysis. For the present, in asserting almost any general rules for human descent, we do right to make large reservations for possible exceptions. It is tantalizing to have to wait, but of the ultimate result there can be no doubt.

I spoke of complications. Two of these are worth illustrating here, for probably both of them play a great part in human genetics. It was discovered by Nilsson-Ehle, in the course of experiments with certain wheats, that several factors having the same power may coexist in the same individual. These cumulative factors do not necessarily produce a cumulative effect, for any one of them may suffice to give the full result. Just as the pure-bred tall pea with its two factors for tallness is no taller than the cross-bred with a single factor, so these wheats with three pairs of factors for red color are no redder than the ordinary reds of the same family. Similar observations have been made by East and others. In some cases, as in the Primulas studied by Gregory, the effect is cumulative. These results have been used with plausibility by Davenport and the American workers to elucidate the curious case of the mulatto. If the descent of color in the cross between the negro and the white man followed the simplest rule, the offspring of two first-cross mulattos would be, on an average, one black, two mulattos, one white, but this is notoriously not so. Evidence of some segregation is fairly clear, and the deficiency of real whites may perhaps be accounted for on the hypothesis of cumulative factors, though by the nature of the case strict proof is not to be had. But at present I own to a preference for regarding such examples as instances of imperfect segregation. The series of germ-cells produced by the cross-bred consists of some with no black, some with full black, and others with intermediate quantities of black. No statistical tests of the condition of the gametes in such cases exist, and it is likely that by choosing suitable crosses all sorts of conditions may be found, ranging from the simplest case of total segregation, in which there are only two forms of gametes, up to those in which there are all intermediates in various proportions. This at least is what general experience of hybrid product leads me to anticipate. Segregation is somehow effected by the rhythms of cell-division, if such an expression may be permitted. In some cases the whole factor is so easily separated that it is swept out at once; in others it is so intermixed that gametes of all degrees of purity may result. That is admittedly a crude metaphor, but as yet we can not substitute a better. Be all this as it may, there are many signs that in human heredity phenomena of this kind are common, whether they indicate a multiplicity of cumulative factors or imperfections in segregation. Such phenomena, however, in no way detract from the essential truths that segregation occurs, and that the organism can not pass on a factor which it has not itself received.

In human heredity we have found some examples, and I believe that we shall find many more, in which the descent of factors is limited by sex. The classical instances are those of color blindness and haemophilia. Both these conditions occur with much greater frequency in males than in females. Of color blindness at least we know that the sons of the color-blind man do not inherit it (unless the mother is a transmitter) and do not transmit it to their children of either sex. Some, probably all, of the daughters of the color-blind father inherit the character, and though not themselves color blind, they transmit it to some (probably on an average half) of their offspring of both sexes. For since these normal-sighted women have only received the color blindness from one side of their parentage, only half their offspring on an average can inherit it. The sons who inherit the color blindness will be color blind and the inheriting daughters becomes themselves again transmitters. Males with normal color vision, whatever their own parentage, do not have color-blind descendants, unless they marry transmitting women. There are points still doubtful in the interpretation, but the critical fact is clear, that the germ cells of the color-blind man are of two kinds – (i) those which do not carry on the affection and are destined to take part in the formation of sons, and (ii) those which do carry on the color blindness and are destined to form daughters. There is evidence that the ova also are similarly predestined to form one or other of the sexes, but to discuss the whole question of sex determination is beyond my present scope. The descent of these sex-limited affections nevertheless calls for mention here, because it is an admirable illustration of factorial predestination. It moreover exemplifies that parental polarity of the zygote, to which I alluded in my first address – a phenomenon which we suspect to be at the bottom of various anomalies of heredity, and suggests that there may be truth in the popular notion that in some respects sons resemble their mothers and daughters their fathers.

As to the descent of hereditary diseases and malformations, however, we have abundant data for deciding that many are transmitted as dominants and a few as recessives. The most remarkable collection of these data is to be found in family histories of diseases of the eye. Neurology and dermatology have also contributed many very instructive pedigrees. In great measure the opthalmological material was collected by Edward Nettleship, for whose death we so lately grieved. After retiring from practice as an oculist he devoted several years to this most laborious task. He was not content with hearsay evidence, but traveled incessantly, personally examining all accessible members of the families concerned, working in such a way that his pedigrees are models of orderly observation and recording. His zeal stimulated many younger men to take part in the work, and it will not go on, with the result that the systems of descent of all the common hereditary diseases of the eye will soon be known with approximate accuracy.

Give a little imagination to considering the chief deduction from this work. Technical details apart, and granting that we can not wholly interpret the numerical results, sometimes noticeably more and sometimes fewer descendants of these patients being affected than Mendelian formulae would indicate, the expectation is that in the case of many diseases of the eye a large proportion of the children, grandchildren, and remoter descendants of the patients will be affected with the disease. Sometimes it is only defective sight that is transmitted; in other cases it is blindness, either from birth or coming on at some later age. The most striking example perhaps is that form of night blindness still prevalent in a district near Montpellier, which has affected at least 130 persons, all descending from a single affected individual [6] who came into the country in the seventeenth century. The transmission is in every case through an affected parent, and no normal has been known to pass on the condition. Such an example well serves to illustrate the fixity of the rules of descent. Similar instances might be recited relating to a great variety of other conditions, some trivial, others grave.

At various times it had been declared that men are born equal, and that the inequality is brought about by unequal opportunities. Acquaintance with the pedigrees of disease soon shews the fatuity of such fancies. The same conclusion, we may be sure, would result from the true representation of the descent of any human faculty. Never since Galton’s publications can the matter have been in any doubt. At the time he began to study family histories even the broad significance of heredity was frequently denied, and resemblances to parents or ancestors were looked on as interesting curiosities. Inveighing against hereditary political institutions, Tom Paine remarks that the idea is as absurd as that of an “hereditary wise man”, or an “hereditary mathematician”, and to this day I suppose many people are not aware that he is saying anything more than commonly foolish.

Hitherto we have considered aristocracy chiefly in one point of view. We have now to consider it in another. But whether we view it before or behind, or sideways, or any way else, domestically or publicly, it is still a monster.

In France aristocracy had one feature less in its countenance than what it has in some other countries. It did not compose a body of hereditary legislators. It was not "'a corporation of aristocracy, for such I have heard M. de la Fayette describe an English House of Peers. Let us then examine the grounds upon which the French Constitution has resolved against having such a House in France.

Because, in the first place, as is already mentioned, aristocracy is kept up by family tyranny and injustice.

Secondly. Because there is an unnatural unfitness in an aristocracy to be legislators for a nation. Their ideas of distributive justice are corrupted at the very source. They begin life by trampling on all their younger brothers and sisters, and relations of every kind, and are taught and educated so to do. With what ideas of justice or honour can that man enter a house of legislation, who absorbs in his own person the inheritance of a whole family of children or doles out to them some pitiful portion with the insolence of a gift?

Thirdly. Because the idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries; and as absurd as an hereditary mathematician, or an hereditary wise man; and as ridiculous as an hereditary poet laureate.

Fourthly. Because a body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.

Fifthly. Because it is continuing the uncivilised principle of governments founded in conquest, and the base idea of man having property in man, and governing him by personal right.

Sixthly. Because aristocracy has a tendency to deteriorate the human species. By the universal economy of nature it is known, and by the instance of the Jews it is proved, that the human species has a tendency to degenerate, in any small number of persons, when separated from the general stock of society, and inter-marrying constantly with each other. It defeats even its pretended end, and becomes in time the opposite of what is noble in man. Mr. Burke talks of nobility; let him show what it is. The greatest characters the world have known have arisen on the democratic floor. Aristocracy has not been able to keep a proportionate pace with democracy. The artificial Noble shrinks into a dwarf before the Noble of Nature; and in the few instances of those (for there are some in all countries) in whom nature, as by a miracle, has survived in aristocracy, Those Men Despise It.- But it is time to proceed to a new subject.

-- Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine


We, on the contrary, would feel it something of a puzzle if two parents, both mathematically gifted, had any children not mathematicians. Galton first demonstrated the overwhelming importance of these considerations, and had he not been misled, partly by the theory of pangenesis, but more by his mathematical instincts and training, which prompted him to apply statistical treatment rather than qualitative analysis, he might, not improbably, have discovered the essential facts of Mendelism.

It happens rarely that science has anything to offer to the common stock of ideas at once so comprehensive and so simple that the courses of our thoughts are changed. Contributions to the material progress of mankind are comparatively frequent. They result at once in application. Transit is quickened; communication is made easier; the food-supply is increased and population multiplied. By direct application to the breeding of animals and plants such results must even flow from Mendel’s work. But I imagine the greatest practical change likely to ensue from modern genetic discovery will be a quickening of interest in the true nature of man and in the biology of races. I have spoken cautiously as to the evidence for the operation of any simple Mendelian system in the descent of human faculty; yet the certainty that systems which differ from the simpler schemes only in degree of complexity are at work in the distribution of characters among the human population cannot fail to influence our conceptions of life and of ethics, leading perhaps ultimately to modification of social usage. That change cannot but be in the main one of simplification. The eighteenth century made great pretense of a return to nature, but it did not occur to those philosophers first to inquire what nature is; and perhaps not even the patristic writings contain fantasies much further from physiological truth than those which the rationalists of the “Encyclopaedia” adopted as the basis of their social schemes. For men are so far from being born equal or similar that to the naturalist they stand as the very type of a polymorphic species. Even most of our local races consist of many distinct strains and individual types. From the population of any ordinary English town as many distinct human breeds could in a few generations be isolated as there are now breeds of dogs, and indeed such a population in its present state is much what the dogs of Europe would be in 10 years’ time but for the interference of the fanciers. Even as at present constituted, owing to the isolating effects of instinct, fashion, occupation, and social class, many incipient strains already exist.

In one respect civilized man differs from all other species of animal or plant in that, having prodigious and ever-increasing power over nature, he invokes these powers for the preservation and maintenance of many of the inferior and all the defective members of his species. The inferior freely multiply, and the defective, if their defects be not so grave as to lead to their detention in prisons or asylums, multiply also without restraint. Heredity being strict in its action, the consequences are in civilized countries much what they would be in the kennels of the dog breeder who continued to preserve all his puppies, good and bad; the proportion of defectives increases. The increase is so considerable that outside every great city there is a smaller town inhabited by defectives and those who wait on them. Round London we have a ring of such towns with some 30,000 inhabitants, of whom about 28,000 are defective, largely, though, of course, by no means entirely bred from previous generations of defectives. Now, it is not for us to consider practical measures. As men of science we observe natural events and deduce conclusions from them. I may perhaps be allowed to say that the remedies proposed in America, in so far as they aim at the eugenic regulation of marriage on a comprehensive scale, strike me as devised without regard to the needs either of individuals or of a modern State. Undoubtedly if they decide to breed their population of one uniform puritan gray, they can do it in a few generations; but I doubt if timid respectability will make a nation happy, and I am sure that qualities of a different sort are needed if it is to compete with more vigorous and more varied communities. Everyone must have a preliminary sympathy with the aims of eugenists both abroad and at home. Their efforts at the least are doing something to discover and spread truth as to the physiological structure of society. The spirit of such organizations, however, almost of necessity suffers from a bias toward the accepted and the ordinary, and if they had power it would go hard with many ingredients of society that could be ill-spared. I notice an ominous passage in which even Galton, the founder of eugenics, feeling perhaps some twinge of his Quaker ancestry, remarks that “as the Bohemianism in the nature of our race is destined to perish, the sooner it goes, the happier for mankind.” It is not the eugenists who will give us what Plato has called divine releases from the common ways. If some fancier with the catholicity of Shakespeare would take us in hand, well and good; but I would not trust even Shakespeares meeting as a committee. Let us remember that Beethoven’s father was an habitual drunkard and that his mother died of consumption. From the genealogy of the patriarchs also we learn, “what may very well be the truth,” that the fathers of such as dwell in tents, and of all such as handle the harp or organ, and the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron – the founders, that is to say of the arts and the sciences – came in direct descent from Cain, and not in the posterity of the irreproachable Seth, who is to us, as he probably was also in the narrow circle of his own contemporaries, what naturalists call a nomen nudum.

Genetic research will make it possible for a nation to elect by what sort of beings it will be represented not very many generations hence, much as a farmer can decide whether his byres shall be full of shorthorns or Herefords. It will be very surprising, indeed, if some nation does not make trial of this new power. They may make awful mistakes, but I think they will try.

Whether we like it or not, extraordinary and far-reaching changes in public opinion are coming to pass. Man is just beginning to know himself for what he is – a rather long-lived animal, with great powers of enjoyment, if he does not deliberately forego them. Hitherto superstition and mythical ideas of sin have predominantly controlled these powers. Mysticism will not die out; for those strange fancies knowledge is no cure; but their forms may change, and mysticism as a force for the suppression of joy is happily losing its hold on the modern world. As in the decay of earlier religions, Ushabti dolls were substituted for human victims, so telepathy, necromancy, and other harmless toys take the place of eschatology and the inculcation of a ferocious moral code. Among the civilized races in Europe we are witnessing an emancipation from traditional control in thought, in art, and in conduct which is likely to have prolonged and wonderful influences. Returning to freer or, if you will, simpler conceptions of life and death, the coming generations are determined to get more out of this world than their forefathers did. Is it, then, to be supposed that when science puts into their hand means for the alleviation of suffering immeasurable, and for making this world a happier place, that they will demur to using those powers? The intenser struggle between communities is only now beginning, and with the approaching exhaustion of that capital of energy stored in the earth before man began it must soon become still more fierce. In England some of our great-grandchildren will see the end of the easily accessible coal, and, failing some miraculous discovery of available energy, a wholesale reduction in population. There are races who have shown themselves able at a word to throw off all tradition and take into their service every power that science has yet offered them. Can we expect that they, when they see how to rid themselves of the ever-increasing weight of a defective population, will hesitate? The time can not be far distant when both individuals and communities will begin to think in terms of biological fact, and it behooves those who lead scientific thought carefully to consider whither action should lead. At present I ask you merely to observe the facts. The powers of science to preserve the defective are now enormous. Every year these powers increase. This course of action must read a limit. To the deliberate intervention of civilization for the preservation of inferior strains there must sooner or later come an end, and before long nations will realize the responsibility they have assumed in multiplying these “cankers of a calm world and a long peace.”

The definitely feeble-minded we may with propriety restrain, as we are beginning to do even in England, and we may safely prevent unions in which both parties are defective, for the evidence shows that as a rule such marriages, though often prolific, commonly produce no normal children at all. The union of such social vermin we should no more permit than we would allow parasites to breed on our own bodies. Further than that in restraint of marriage we ought not to go, at least not yet. Something, too, may be done by a reform of medical ethics. Medical students are taught that it is their duty to prolong life at whatever cost in suffering. This may have been right when diagnosis was uncertain and interference usually of small effect, but deliberately to interfere now for the preservation of an infant so gravely diseased that it can never be happy or come to any good is very like wanton cruelty. In private few men defend such interference. Most who have seen these cases lingering on agree that the system is deplorable, but ask where can any line be drawn. The biologist would reply that in all ages such decisions have been made by civilized communities with fair success both in regard to crime and in the closely analogous case of lunacy. The real reason why these things are done is because the world collectively cherishes occult views of the nature of life, because the facts are realized by few, and because between the legal mind – to which society has become accustomed to defer – and the seeing eye, there is such physiological antithesis that hardly can they be combined in the same body. So soon as scientific knowledge becomes common property, views more reasonable and, I may add, more humane, are likely to prevail.

To all these great biological problems that modern society must sooner or later face there are many aspects besides the obvious ones. Infant mortality we are asked to lament without the slightest thought of what the world would be like if the majority of these infants were to survive. The decline in the birth rate in countries already overpopulated is often deplored, and we are told that a nation in which population is not rapidly increasing must be in a decline. The slightest acquaintance with biology, or even schoolboy natural history, shows that this inference may be entirely wrong, and that before such a question can be decided in one way or the other hosts of considerations must be taken into account. In normal stable conditions population is stationary. The laity never appreciates what is so clear to a biologist, that the last century and a quarter corresponding with the great rise in population has been an altogether exceptional period. To our species this period has been what its early years in Australia were to the rabbit. The exploitation of energy capital of the earth in coal, development of the new countries, and the consequent pouring of food into Europe, the application of antiseptics, these are the things that have enabled the human population to increase. I do not doubt that if population were more evenly spread over the earth it might increase very much more, but the essential fact is that under any stable conditions a limit must be reached. A pair of wrens will bring off a dozen young every year, but each year you will find the same number of pairs in your garden. In England the limit beyond which under present conditions of distribution increase of population is a source of suffering rather than of happiness had been reached already. Younger communities living in territories largely vacant are very probably right in desiring and encouraging more population. Increase may, for some temporary reason, be essential to their prosperity. But those who live, as I do, among thousands of creatures in a state of semistarvation will realize that too few is better than too many, and will acknowledge the wisdom of Ecclesiasticus who said, “Desire not a multitude of unprofitable children.”

But at least it is often urged that the decline in the birth rate of the intelligent and successful sections of the population (I am speaking of the older communities) is to be regretted. Even this can not be granted without qualification. As the biologist knows, differentiation is indispensable to progress. If population were homogeneous civilization would stop. In every army the officers must be comparatively few. Consequently, if the upper strata of the community produce more children than will recruit their numbers some must fall into the lower strata and increase the pressure there. Statisticians tell us that an average of four children under present conditions is sufficient to keep the number constant, and as the expectation of life is steadily improving we may perhaps contemplate some diminution of that number without alarm.

In the study of history biological treatment is only beginning to be applied. For us the causes of the success and failure of races are physiological events, and the progress of man has depended upon a chain of these events, like those which have resulted in the “improvement” of the domesticated animals and plants. It is obvious, for example, that had the cereals never been domesticated cities could scarcely have existed. But we may go further, and say that in temperate countries of the Old World (having neither rice nor maize) populations concentrated in large cities have been made possible by the appearance of a “thrashable” wheat. The ears of the wild wheats break easily to pieces, and the grain remains in the thick husk. Such wheat can be used for food, but not readily. Ages before written history began, in some unknown place, plants, or more likely a plant, of wheat lost the dominant factor to which this brittleness is due, and the recessive, thrashable wheat resulted. Some man noticed this wonderful novelty, and it has been disseminated over the earth. The original variation may well have occurred once only in a single germ-cell.

So must it have been with man. Translated into terms of factors, how has that progress in control of nature which we call civilization been achieved? By the sporadic appearance of variations mostly, perhaps all, consisting in a loss of elements, which inhibit the free working of the mind. The members of civilized communities, when they think about such things at all, imagine the process a gradual one, and that they themselves are active agents in it. Few, however, contribute anything but their labor; and except in so far as they have freedom to adopt and imitate, their physiological composition is that of an earlier order of beings. Annul the work of a few hundreds – I might almost say scores – of men, and on what plane of civilization should we be? We should not have advanced beyond the medieval stage without printing, chemistry, steam, electricity, or surgery worthy the name. These things are the contributions of a few excessively rare minds. Galton reckoned those to whom the term “illustrious” might be applied as one in a million, but in that number he is, of course, reckoning men famous in ways which add nothing to universal progress. To improve by subordinate invention, to discover details missed, even to apply knowledge never before applied, all these things need genius in some degree, and are far beyond the powers of the average man of our race; but the true pioneer, the man whose penetration creates a new world, as did that of Newton and of Pasteur, is inconceivably rare. But for a few thousands of such men we should perhaps be in the Palaeolithic era, knowing neither metals, writing, arithmetic, weaving, nor pottery.

In the history of art the same is true, but with this remarkable difference, that not only are gifts of artistic creation very rare, but even the faculty of artistic enjoyment, not to speak of higher powers of appreciation, is not attained without variation from the common type. I am speaking, of course, of the non-Semitic races of modern Europe, among whom the power whether of making or enjoying works of art is confined to an insignificant number of individuals. Appreciation can in some degree be simulated, but in our population there is no widespread physiological appetite for such things. When detached from the centers where they are made by others, most of us pass our time in great contentment, making nothing that is beautiful, and quite unconscious of any deprivation. Musical taste is the most notable exception, for in certain races – for example, the Welsh and some of the Germans – it is almost universal. Otherwise, artistic faculty is still sporadic in its occurrence. The case of music well illustrates the application of genetic analysis to human faculty. No one disputes that musical ability is congenital. In its fuller manifestation it demands sense of rhythm, ear, and special nervous and muscular powers. Each of these is separable and doubtless genetically distinct. Each is the consequence of a special departure from the common type. Teaching and external influences are powerless to evoke these faculties, though their development may be assisted. The only conceivable way in which the people of England, for example, could become a musical nation would be by the gradual rise in the proportional numbers of a musical strain or strains until the present type became so rare as to be negligible. It by no means follows that in any other respect the resulting population would be distinguishable from the present one. Difficulties of this kind beset the efforts of anthropologists to trace racial origins. It must continually be remembered that most characters are independently transmitted and capable of such recombination. In the light of Mendelian knowledge the discussion whether a race is pure or mixed loses almost all significance. A race is pure if it breeds pure and not otherwise. Historically we may know that a race like our own was, as a matter of fact, of mixed origin. But a character may have been introduced by a single individual, though subsequently it becomes common to the race. This is merely a variant on the familiar paradox that in the course of time if registration is accurate we shall all have the same surname. In the case of music, for instance, the gift, originally perhaps from a Welsh source, might permeate the nation, and the question would then arise whether the nation, so changed, was the English nation or not.

Such a problem is raised in a striking form by the population of modern Greece, and especially of Athens. The racial characteristics of the Athenian and of the fifth century B.C. are vividly described by Galton in “Hereditary Genius.” The fact that in that period a population, numbering many thousands, should have existed, capable of following the great plays at a first hearing, reveling in subtleties of speech, and thrilling with passionate delight in beautiful things, is physiologically a most singular phenomenon. On the basis of the number of illustrious men produced by that age Galton estimated the average intelligence as at least two of his degrees above our own, differing from us as much as we do from the Negro. A few generations later the display was over. The origin of that constellation of human genius which then blazed out is as yet beyond all biological analysis, but I think we are not altogether without suspicion of the sequence of the biological events. If I visit a poultry breeder who has a fine stock of thoroughbred game fowls breeding true, and 10 years later – that is to say, 10 fowl-generations later – I go again and find scarcely a recognizable game fowl on the place, I know exactly what has happened. One or two birds of some other or of no breed must have strayed in and their progeny been left undestroyed. Now, in Athens, we have many indications that up to the beginning of the fifth century so long as the phratries and gentes were maintained in their integrity there was rather close endogamy, a condition giving the best chance of producing a homogeneous population. There was no lack of material from which intelligence and artistic power might be derived. Sporadically these qualities existed throughout the ancient Greek world from the dawn of history, and, for example, the vase painters, the makers of the Tanagra figurines, and the gem cutters were presumably pursuing family crafts, much as are the actor families [7] of England or the professional families of Germany at the present day. How the intellectual strains should have acquired predominance we can not tell, but in an in-breeding community homogeneity at least is not surprising. At the end of the sixth century came the “reforms” of Cleisthenes (507 B.C.), which sanctioned foreign marriages and admitted to citizenship a number not only of resident aliens but also of manumitted slaves. As Aristotle says, Cleisthenes legislated with the deliberate purpose of breaking up the phratries and gentes, in order that the various sections of the population might be mixed up as much as possible, and the old tribal associations abolished. The “reform” was probably a recognition and extension of a process already begun; but is it too much to suppose that we have here the effective beginning of a series of genetic changes which in a few generations so greatly altered the character of the people? Under Pericles the old law was restored (451 B.C.), but losses in the great wars led to further laxity in practice, and though at the end of the fifth century the strict rule was reenacted that a citizen must be of citizen birth on both sides, the population by that time may well have become largely mongrelized.

Let me not be construed as arguing that mixture of races is an evil, far from it. A population like our own, indeed, owes much of its strength to the extreme diversity of its components, for they contribute a corresponding abundance of aptitudes. Everything turns on the nature of the ingredients brought in, and I am concerned solely with the observation that these genetic disturbances lead ultimately to great and usually unforeseen changes in the nature of the population.

Some experiments of this kind are going on at the present time in the United States, for example, on a very large scale. Our grandchildren may live to see the characteristics of the American population entirely altered by the vast invasion of Italian and other South European elements. We may expect that the Eastern States, and especially New England, whose people still exhibit the fine Puritan qualities, with their appropriate limitations, absorbing little of the alien elements, will before long be in feelings and aptitudes very notably differentiated from the rest. In Japan also, with the abolition of the feudal system and the rise of commercialism, a change in population has begun which may be worthy of the attention of naturalists in that country. Till the revolution the Samurai almost always married within their own class, with the result, as I am informed, that the caste had fairly recognizable features. The changes of 1868 and the consequent impoverishment of the Samurai have brought about a beginning of disintegration which may not improbably have perceptible effects.

How many genetic vicissitudes has our own peerage undergone. Into the hard-fighting stock of medieval and Plantagenet times have successively been crossed the cunning shrewdness of Tudor statesmen and courtiers, the numerous contributions of Charles II and his concubines, reinforcing peculiar and persistent attributes which popular imagination especially regards as the characteristic of peers, ultimately the heroes of finance and industrialism. Definitely intellectual elements have been sporadically added – with rare exceptions, however – from the ranks of lawyers and politicians. To this aristocracy art, learning, and science have contributed sparse ingredients, but these mostly chosen for celibacy or childlessness. A remarkable body of men, nevertheless; with an average “horsepower,” as Samuel Butler would have said, far exceeding that of any random sample of the middle class. If only man could be reproduced by budding what a simplification it would be. In vegetative reproduction heredity is usually complete. The Washington plum can be divided to produce as many identical individuals as are required. If, say, Washington, the statesman, or preferably King Solomon, could similarly have been propagated, all the nations of the earth could have been supplied with ideal rulers.

Historians commonly ascribe such changes as occurred in Athens, and will almost certainly come to pass in the United States, to conditions of life, and especially to political institutions. These agencies, however, do little unless they are such as to change the breed. External changes may indeed give an opportunity to special strains, which then acquire ascendency. The industrial developments which began at the end of the eighteenth century, for instance, gave a chance to strains till then submerged, and their success involved the decay of most of the old aristocratic families. But the demagogue who would argue from the rise of the one and the fall of the other that the original relative positions were not justifiable altogether mistakes the facts.

Conditions give opportunities but cause no variations. For example, in Athens, to which I just referred, the universality of cultivated discernment could never have come to pass but for the institution of slavery which provided the opportunity, but slavery was in no sense a cause of that development, for many other populations have lived on slaves and remained altogether inconspicuous.

The long-standing controversy as to the relative importance of nature and nurture, to use Galton’s “convenient jingle of words,” is drawing to an end, and of the overwhelmingly greater significance of nature there is no longer any possibility of doubt. It may be well briefly to recapitulate the arguments on which naturalists rely in coming to this decision both as regards races and individuals. First, as regards human individuals, there is the common experience that children of the same parents, reared under conditions sensibly identical, may develop quite differently, exhibiting in character and aptitudes a segregation just as great as in their colors or hair forms. Conversely all the more marked aptitudes have at various times appeared and not rarely reached perfection in circumstances the least favorable for their development. Next, appeal can be made to the universal experience of the breeder, whether of animals or plants, that strain is absolutely essential; that though bad conditions may easily enough spoil a good strain, yet that under the best conditions a bad strain will never give a fine result. It is faith, not evidence, which encourages educationists and economists to hope so greatly in the ameliorating effects of the conditions of life. Let us consider what they can do and what they can not. By reference to some sentences in a charming though pathetic book, “What Is, and What Might Be,” by Mr. Edmond Holmes, which will be well known in the educational section, I may make the point of view of us naturalists clear. I take Mr. Holmes’s pronouncement partly because he is an enthusiastic believer in the efficacy of nurture as opposed to nature, and also because he illustrates his views by frequent appeals to biological analogies which help us to a common ground. Wheat badly cultivated will give a bad yield, though, as Mr. Holmes truly says, wheat of the same strain in similar soil well cultivated may give a good harvest. But, having witnessed the success of a great natural teacher in helping unpromising peasant children to develop their natural powers, he gives us another botanical parallel. Assuming that the wild bullace is the origin of domesticated plums, he tells us that by cultivation the bullace can no doubt be improved so far as to become a better bullace, but by no means can the bullace be made to bear plums. All this is sound biology; but translating these facts into the human analogy, he declares that the work of the successful teacher shows that with man the facts are otherwise, and that the average rustic child, whose normal ideal is “bullacehood,” can become the rare exception, developing to a stage corresponding with that of the plum. But the naturalist knows exactly where the parallel is at fault. For the wheat and the bullace are both breeding approximately true, whereas the human crop, like jute and various cottons, is in a state of polymorphic mixture. The population of many English villages may be compared with the crop which would result from sowing a bushel of kernels gathered mostly from the hedges, with an occasional few from an orchard. If anyone asks how it happens that there are any plum kernels in the sample at all, he may find the answer perhaps in spontaneous variation, but more probably in the appearance of a long-hidden recessive. For the want of that genetic variation, consisting probably, as I have argued, in loss of inhibiting factors, by which the plum arose from the wild form, neither food, nor education, nor hygiene can in any way atone. Many wild plants are half starved through competition, and transferred to garden soil they grow much bigger; so good conditions might certainly enable the bullace population to develop beyond the stunted physical and mental stature they commonly attain, but plums they can never be. Modern statesmanship aims rightly at helping those who have got sown as wildings to come into their proper class; but let not any one suppose such a policy democratic in its ultimate effects, for no course of action can be more effective in strengthening the upper classes whilst weakening the lower.

In all practical schemes for social reform the congenital diversity, the essential polymorphism of all civilized communities, must be recognized as a fundamental fact, and reformers should rather direct their efforts to facilitating and rectifying class distinctions than to any futile attempt to abolish them. The teaching of biology is perfectly clear. We are what we are by virtue of our differentiation. The value of civilization has in all ages been doubted. Since, however, the first variations were not strangled in their birth we are launched on that course of variability of which civilization is the consequence. We can not go back to homogeneity again, and differentiated we are likely to continue. For a period measures designed to create a spurious homogeneity may be applied. Such attempts will, I anticipate, be made when the present unstable social state reaches a climax of instability, which may not be long hence. Their effects can be but evanescent. The instability is due not to inequality, which is inherent and congenital, but rather to the fact that in periods of rapid change, like the present, convection currents are set up such that the elements of the strata get intermixed, and the apparent stratification corresponds only roughly with the genetic. In a few generations under uniform conditions these elements settle in their true levels once more.

In such equilibrium is content most surely to be expected. To the naturalist the broad lines of solution of the problems of social discontent are evident. They lie neither in vain dreams of a mystical and disintegrating equality nor in the promotion of that malignant individualism which in older civilizations has threatened mortification of the humbler organs, but rather in a physiological coordination of the constituent parts of the social organism. The rewards of commerce are grossly out of proportion to those attainable by intellect or industry. Even regarded as compensation for a dull life, they far exceed the value of the services rendered to the community. Such disparity is an incident of the abnormally rapid growth of population and is quite indefensible as a permanent social condition. Nevertheless capital, distinguished as a provision for offspring, is a eugenic institution; and unless human instinct undergoes some profound and improbable variation abolition of capital means the abolition of effort. But as in the body the power of independent growth of the parts is limited and subordinated to the whole; similarly in the community we may limit the powers of capital, preserving so much inequality of privilege as corresponds with physiological fact.

At every turn the student of political science is confronted with problems that demand biological knowledge for their solution. Most obviously is this true in regard to education, the criminal law, and all those numerous branches of policy and administration which are directly concerned with the physiological capacities of mankind. Assumptions as to what can be done and what can not be done to modify individuals and races have continually to be made, and the basis of fact on which such decisions are founded can be drawn only from biological study.

A knowledge of the facts of nature is not yet deemed an essential part of the mental equipment of politicians; but as the priest who began in other ages as medicine man has been obliged to abandon the medical parts of his practice, so will the future behold the schoolmaster, the magistrate, the lawyer, and ultimately the statesman, compelled to share with the naturalist those functions which are concerned with the physiology of race.


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Notes:

1. De l’Espece et des Races dans les Etres Organiscs, 1859.

2. On the Variation of Species, 1856.

3. The fact that in certain plants the male and female organs respectively carry distinct factors may be quoted as almost decisively negativing the suggestion that segregation is confined to the reduction division.

4. I take the following from the abstract of a recent Croonian lecture “On the Origin of Mammals” delivered to the Royal Society: “In Upper Triassic times the larger Cynodonts preyed upon the large Anomodont, Kannemeyeria, and carried on their existence so long as these Anomodonts survived, but died out with them about the end of the Tylas or in Rhaetic times. The small Cynodonts, having neither small Anomodonts nor small Cotylossaurs to feed on, were forced to hunt the very active long-limbed Thecodonts. The greatly increased activity brought about that series of changes which formed the mammals – the flexible skin with hair, the four-chambered heart and warm blood, the loose jaw with teeth for mastication, an increased development of tactile sensation and a great increase of cerebrum. Not improbably the attacks of the newly-evolved Cynodont or mammalian type brought about a corresponding evolution in the Pseudosuchian Thecodonts which ultimately resulted in the formation of Dionsaurs and Birds.” Broom, R., Proc. Roy. Soc. B., 87, p. 88.

5. The numerous and most interesting “mutations” recorded by Prof. T.H. Morgan and his colleagues in the fly, Drosophila, may also be cited as unexceptionable cases.

6. The first human descent proved to follow Mendelian rules was that of a serious malformation of the hand studied by Farabee in America. Drinkwater subsequently worked out pedigrees for the same malformation in England. After many attempts, he now tells me that he has succeeded in proving that the American family and one of his own had an abnormal ancestor in common, five generations ago.

7. For tables of these families, see the Supplement to Who’s Who in the Theater.
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