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The Science of Human PerfectionHow Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine$
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Nathaniel Comfort

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300169911

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300169911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 30 November 2021

A Germ Theory of Genes

A Germ Theory of Genes

(p.67) 3 A Germ Theory of Genes
The Science of Human Perfection

Nathaniel Comfort

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that with false starts and sometimes misguided efforts, academic genetics became integrated with general medicine. The chasm separating the two disciplines was closed by means of a few pioneers who conducted experiments themselves and those who explored the discipline by exchanging correspondences. Though the earliest geneticists' motivations were different; two main views in genetics have emerged. First is the idea that heredity is constitutional, a part of the soil; and these geneticists sought, by using statistics and different theoretical approaches, to address health and diseases holistically. Others viewed genes as seeds of disease: and they played off the perceived successes of the germ theory of disease to articulate what is now known as the germ theory of genes: a medical genetics based on the idea of genes as agents of disease.

Keywords:   germ theory of genes, medical genetics, heredity, disease, medicine

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