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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 13, 2005


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(2):260. doi:10.1001/jama.294.2.260-c

The repeated experiments of an English investigator who is said to have produced something like living forms by the action of radium on sterilized bouillon do not appear to us to deserve the importance attributed to them in the public press and elsewhere. It is unfortunate in some respects for the claim that spontaneous generation is possible that all experiments in this line deserving of any consideration whatever are made with already organized matter. The present case is no exception. It is not claimed, moreover, that life has been actually produced, but only that something resembling it or suggesting it resulted in the course of experiments. Radium is a powerful agent in many ways, and it is not remarkable that it can cause changes in even dead organized matter that may at first sight or in some ways simulate life.