July 14, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(2):122-123. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590290044016

In recent years the plant pathologist of the United States Department of Agriculture, Dr. Erwin F. Smith, has repeatedly expressed the belief that a diligent study of tumors in plants will help to solve the cancer problem. His fundamental conception may be thus expressed: Cancer occurs in many kinds of plants, in which it passes through an essentially parallel course of development to that of cancer in man and animals, some allowance, of course, being made for differences in the structure and development of plants. His concept is, that fundamentally plants and animals are alike, that physical and chemical laws apply equally, that is, uniformly, to all living things, and hence that discoveries relative to the fundamental cell mechanics of animals apply equally to plants, and vice versa.1

As Smith and his associates have discovered a relationship between certain plant tumors and a flagellate schizomycete named by them Bacterium

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