On Germinal Transplantation in Vertebrates

On Germinal Transplantation in Vertebrates

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On Germinal Transplantation in Vertebrates

On Germinal Transplantation in Vertebrates

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The scientific results described in this paper were obtained from experiments begun in the Zoölogical Laboratory of Harvard University and completed in the Laboratory of Genetics of the Bussey Institution. These experiments were made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Institution of Washington to the senior author, for which grateful acknowledgment is hereby made. The authors desire also to thank Dr. Alexis Carrel, of the Rockefeller Institute, for valuable suggestions as to operative technique.

The curiosity of zoologists has long been aroused to know whether the reproductive gland of a vertebrate can be successfully transplanted from the body of one individual to another; and, if so, whether the gland will thereafter function in its new environment; and, if it does, whether the nature of its products will remain unaltered. The fact has repeatedly been pointed out that experiments of this sort, if successful, should afford a crucial test of the Lamarckian and the Weismannian views, respectively, of the relation of the germinal substance to its environment and in particular to the body.

Our own attention was particularly directed to these questions by the remarkable results recently described by Guthrie and Magnus, which seemed to show that transplanted ovaries, in a foreign body, liberate products distinctly influenced in nature by that body. To test the correctness of such a conclusion the experiments described in this paper were undertaken. Since it is known that the environment directly influences the nature of the body, if it can be shown further that the body directly influences the character of the inheritance through the sexual products, the Lamarckian principle is established and that of Weismann is disproved. It is therefore of fundamental importance either to confirm or to disprove the results of the authors mentioned.

We are unable to confirm, we present evidence which tends to disprove, the conclusions reached by Guthrie and Magnus. We do not question the results reported by them, but only the interpretations given by them to that work.

Every biologist is familiar with the able series of essays in which Weismann showed the physiological distinctness of body and germ-plasm. Many will recall also the noteworthy experiments of Heape (1890-1897), by which he showed that influences exerted during gestation do not modify the inher-

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