Size Inheritance in Rabbits

By E. C. MacDowell; W. E. Castle | Go to book overview

PART II.--EXPERIMENTAL.

INTRODUCTION.

In the following report of an investigation of the inheritance of the weight and of the size of various skeletal characters of rabbits, facts are presented that are believed to indicate an increase in variability as a result of size crosses. The work here described was started that further knowledge of the inheritance of the size of rabbits might be obtained, and, in the light of the evidence presented by Nilsson-Ehle, to test the hypothesis that differences in size may be due to the various groupings of similar independent Mendelian factors.

The original crosses of the large and small rabbits and the plan for breeding were made by Professor W. E. Castle in November 1908, who kept the records of their progeny until January 1910, when the investigation was put into my hands. With the exception of the recording of the weights during seven weeks in the summer of 1910, which was very generously done by Professor Castle, I have made all observations since 1909; I wish to acknowledge here a keen appreciation of my indebtedness to Professor Castle for the privilege of completing this work, which was already planned and started, and to express my deep gratitude for the untold assistance and advice that he has given freely during the course of these experiments.


ROLE OF ENVIRONMENT.

In any study of size or weight the control of food, temperature, and general surroundings is very essential. Valuable information on the actual influence of environment is given by a series of curves that have been made from a series of weighings of each animal (see p. 43). In the case of rabbits irregularities are very marked. Guinea pigs raised under identical conditions show much smoother curves. This difference may be due largely to the considerable mass of material constantly in the large cæcum of the rabbit, which is directly affected by any unfavorable condition that would cause a loss of appetite. So this cæcum would act as a magnifier of the actual fluctuations in the weight of the tissues themselves.

The rabbits were raised in two adjoining rooms, in which temperature and light conditions were similar. The rooms were heated by steam in winter and in summer were cooler than outdoors. The animals were all fed regularly on the same rations, with a change from fresh grass in summer to hay and mangels in winter. Oats were given them all

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Size Inheritance in Rabbits
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Prefatory Note. 3
  • Contents 5
  • Part I.--Historical. 9
  • Part Ii.--Experimental. 25
  • Summary. 39
  • Conclusions. 44
  • Bibliography. 47
  • Appendix. - The Nature of Size Factors as Indicated by a Study Of Correlation. 51
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