Trends in Genetic Analysis

Trends in Genetic Analysis

Trends in Genetic Analysis

Trends in Genetic Analysis

Excerpt

This book is based on the Jesup Lectures delivered in April, 1956, in the Department of Zoology of Columbia University in the City of New York. A portion of the text is unchanged and the colloquial style generally retained.

The title--for short, "Trends in Genetic Analysis"--is an obvious overstatement: there was no intention, of course, of dealing in six lectures with all the directions along which genetics is advancing. The treatment was confined only to those fields with which the author has firsthand acquaintance. Cytoplasmic inheritance, biometrical genetics, and even the detailed study of mutation were completely omitted. Yet no one, least of all the author, will maintain that there are no trends there. These are all frontier fields expanding very vigorously. The scope of the lectures was a reappraisal, on the basis of present knowledge, of the theory of the gene.

A by-product of recent research is the realization that sexual reproduction--i.e., a regular alternation of karyogamy and meiosis as shown in higher organisms--is by no means the only process for the pooling and reassorting of genetic information from different lines of descent. Though known so far only in microorganisms, novel processes of genetic recombination make it clear that some modernized version of the theory of the gene is applicable in organisms or situations in which sexual reproduction (the basis of the original theory) does not occur. The two closing chapters of this book deal precisely with these novel processes.

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