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April 21, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(16):1009-1010. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460160051014

Some months ago the newspapers contained various sensational accounts of certain experiments by Prof. Jacques Loeb, of the University of Chicago, in regard to what they called his new theory of the reproduction of animals and of the origin of life. The investigator himself was quoted as saying to a reporter that by them "we have drawn a great step nearer to the chemical theory of life and may already see ahead of us the day when a scientist experimenting with chemicals in a test tube, may see them unite and form a substance which shall live and move and reproduce itself." Prof. A. B. Conklin,2 of the University of Pennsylvania, reviews the subject and gently criticizes Loeb's rather premature conclusion that we have in his experiments an instance of "fertilization" by the ions of the magnesium chlorid solution in which he had temporarily placed the egg. It is