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February 23, 1957

DEVELOPMENTAL DEFECTS

JAMA. 1957;163(8):677. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970430067023

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  Dr. Gruenwald has written (J. A. M. A.162:1077 [Nov. 10] 1956) that an article by me in the July 14,1956, issue of The Journal, page 1047, "should not go unchallenged," inasmuch as I show "disregard of the importance of the ever-present action of genetic factors in all living organisms." First, I would like to point out that I was challenging the "genetics-is-anexact-science" shibboleth. In my article I had written: "Assertions that a race of monsters and sports is the likely price of discovery of nuclear fission are unsupported. The one indisputable effect upon the unborn is the development of brachycephaly and mental retardation as an acquired anomaly.... The practical demonstration is the direct effect of high dosage of ionizing radiation upon the mammalian conceptus and not a confirmation of dire speculations about mammalian mutations." To attack genetic speculations as something other than proved doctrine is

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