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March 20, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Public Health, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1943;121(12):929-931. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840120031008

Does the condition of the mother influence the developing embryo? This question is one that comes up every so often and we are apt to dismiss it without much thought because we accept the textbook dictum that the development of the human embryo is strictly gene determined. But geneticists today are by no means as dogmatic as they were a decade ago. The vast bulk of the cytoplasm of the egg and its possible significance in modifying genetic trends is receiving more and more attention, and Porter's1 experiments lend support to this idea.

The observations that we shall present are concerned wholly with the problem in the human being and are therefore based on statistical analysis on the one hand and on the demonstration that environmental impacts (weather as an example) can profoundly modify the bodily chemistry from day to day.2 Modification of the condition of the maternal