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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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A Germ Theory of Genes

A Germ Theory of Genes

Chapter:
(p.67) 3 A Germ Theory of Genes
Source:
The Science of Human Perfection
Author(s):

Nathaniel Comfort

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300169911.003.0003

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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