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March 21, 1931

PHYLOGENETIC IMMUNOLOGIC RECAPITULATION?

JAMA. 1931;96(12):950-951. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720380038016
Abstract

Current theories of allergy and immunity are based on the assumption that normal human proteins are unchanged in specificity from the time the ovum is fertilized to its death. A different condition might have been developed if early experimenters had made the opposite assumption, a dynamic protein specificity.1 Mass immunizations of adults to diphtheria, scarlet fever and poliomyelitis, for example, might have been pictured as a normal panimmunity; observed allergies as a result of arrested maturations, atypical differentiations or embryonic protein reversions.

Biochemical stasis is not assumed in other fields of pathology. An embryologic recapitulation of evolutionary history is postulated by many anatomists, with arrests, reversions and atypical recapitulations as the accepted explanation for numerous adult structural abnormalities. Wells and Corper2 and Long3 have apparently demonstrated embryologic recapitulation in human tissue enzymes. In all adult mammals except man and the higher anthropoids there is an adenine-splitting enzyme.

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