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July 2, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(1):30-31. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450010040006

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No question in biology has been discussed with more animation than that of the transmission by heredity of acquired defects. Prominent among those who denied hereditary transmission of acquired effects was Weismann. His writings have been received with much favor and he has won a very numerous following. The effects produced by his criticisms have been undoubtedly beneficial in removing from certain ideas of heredity their crudeness. The older notions of heredity were much more vague and at the same time more sweeping than those held by modern biologists. Weismann's followers have cleared up much obscurity, but at the same time by too intense devotion to a theory have added even more. Weismann for example rides the germ hobby to death, in his attempt to explain the transmission by heredity of traumatic epilepsy in guinea pigs. He assumes that epilepsy is always of microbic origin. The reason therefore that the

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