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January 18, 1941

How Life Began: A Speculative Study in Modern Biology

JAMA. 1941;116(3):263. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820030085041

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The author calls this a speculative study in modern biology. It is that and more in that it attempts to answer the age old query "Why is man?" rather than give information on "What is man?" Beginning with the biology of man, the book discusses heredity and environment. It does not advance solid arguments for one to the detriment of the other but shows how the two are related. The author shows further that the two cannot be kept in separate compartments but must be invoked together. He speaks of an "inherited environment" and shows further that the two overlap "spatially and structurally" to such an extent that it is quite impracticable to decide where one "leaves off and the other begins." The book is thought provoking, makes excellent reading and will interest the physician and those of his patients who possess a sufficient background of knowledge in biology.

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