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December 2, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(23):2060-2061. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800480046012

Since 1923 the role of heredity in infectious diseases has been studied by Webster,1 who investigated the behavior of these diseases in mice. Common practice shows, he says, that if a batch of mice is given an injection of a virulent agent by some artificial route the great majority die within a few hours. Observed differences in survival rates under the influence of less virulent agents, smaller doses and like variations have heretofore been attributed solely to uncontrolled errors of technic. It was shown in 1923 that batches of laboratory bred mice exposed to infectious agents in a way simulating nature differed from batches of uncontrolled mice in responding as a group in a relatively predictable manner. Further, by varying the diet a definite individual difference was demonstrable. Progeny from parents which died early from test infection with mouse typhoid were more susceptible than those from parents which survived