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August 9, 1930


Author Affiliations

Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn.

JAMA. 1930;95(6):431. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720060049028

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To the Editor:  —May I call your attention to a statement that appeared in The Journal, June 28, p. 2080, in a note on "Collective Polydactylism in a Small Town" by the Madrid correspondent, which appears contradictory to present conceptions in genetics: "If only one parent has the abnormality, the first child is normal but all the other children have more than five fingers."The question of primogeniture has long been debated, but at present it is believed that, as far as hereditary characters are concerned, the first-born is subject to the same laws of chance that govern the inheritance of such characters in the other children. For example, the following appears in the summary of an article by Madge Thulow Macklin on "Primogeniture and Developmental Anomalies" in Human Biology 1:382-405, 1929:The laws of heredity presuppose that the first-born is no more liable [and the present writer would

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