Haldane, Mayr, and Beanbag Genetics

By Krishna Dronamraju | Go to book overview

2
Foundations of Population
Genetics

There are certain aspects of the origins of population genetics that have drawn special attention and comment by the historians of science. First, one wonders about the possible role of personality conflicts in stimulating scientific growth: Do they hinder or help in the development of a branch of science? The antagonism and personal dislike between William Bateson and Karl Pearson delayed the development of genetics, and population genetics in particular, by fifteen years or more. If they had cooperated instead of quarreled, population genetics would have had an earlier start, and it would have developed much further by the time R.A. Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, and Sewall Wright arrived on the scene. There would be no need for Fisher to write his famous 1918 paper to reconcile the two factions. Other conflicts played different roles. The different approaches and methods followed by the three founders have expanded the wide range of problems, concepts, and methods that have come together to establish that field and shaped its identity. Their conflicts and arguments have enriched the field.

No other field of science was dominated for so long by so few — the three founders, although disagreeing sometimes, developed a cohesive

-45-

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Haldane, Mayr, and Beanbag Genetics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - What Is Beanbag Genetics? 3
  • 2 - Foundations of Population Genetics 45
  • 3 - Time Line- J.B.S. Haldane (1892–1964) 88
  • 4 - Time Line- Ernst Walter Mayr (1904–2005) 100
  • 5 - J.B.S. Haldane and Evolutionary Biology 113
  • 6 - Ernst Mayr and Evolutionary Biology 126
  • 7 - Evolution- The Modern Synthesis 145
  • 8 - Summary 171
  • References 187
  • Appendix 199
  • Index 271
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