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September 9, 1893

Prof. Weismann's Theories.

JAMA. 1893;XXI(11):394. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.12420630034009

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A late thoughtful editorial in The Journal on "Studies of Heredity," commenting on Dr. Weismann's published essays on this subject, seems to endorse the German professor's doctrines as the latest accepted conclusions of science. No mention is made of the widespread criticisms which Weismann's theories have called forth, the most notable of which perhaps are from the pen of Herbert Spencer in the Contemporary Review. After expressing surprise at the wide acceptance of Prof. Weismann's theories by the biological world, Mr. Spencer proceeds to show that the most fundamental proposition in his "Essays"—that on which the whole superstructure of his biological arguments rest—is untenable.

Prof. Weismann's primary contention is that animal organisms consist essentially of two kinds of ultimate cells —the somatic or nutritive cells and the reproductive germ cells; that the former are perishable but that the latter are immortal; that is, that in the propagation of the species

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