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March 20, 1920


JAMA. 1920;74(12):815. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620120041023

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Feb. 12, 1920.

Symbiosis, a Biologic Theory  A book that appeared recently entitled "Les symbiotes" has awakened a lively discussion. The personality of the author has been known for many years in the scientific world. The name of the author in question is Paul Portier, "maitre de conférences" on the Faculté des sciences de Paris and professor at the Institut océanographique, who took a prominent part in the investigations of Prof. Charles Richet on anaphylaxis. The above mentioned work would overthrow completely the ideas heretofore entertained concerning the rôle of microbes. To be sure, it was already known that all microbes are not pathogenic and that certain phenomena of life depend on the existence of bacteria. But the theory of Portier has a much more general application, for he states that every living cell is composed in reality of two cells that are associated in symbiosis; the human organism must

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