Article ID: CBB001022368

Regeneration: Thomas Hunt Morgan's Window into Development (2010)


Early in his career Thomas Hunt Morgan was interested in embryology and dedicated his research to studying organisms that could regenerate. Widely regarded as a regeneration expert, Morgan was invited to deliver a series of lectures on the topic that he developed into a book, Regeneration (1901). In addition to presenting experimental work that he had conducted and supervised, Morgan also synthesized and critiqued a great deal of work by his peers and predecessors. This essay probes into the history of regeneration studies by looking in depth at Regeneration and evaluating Morgan's contribution. Although famous for his work with fruit fly genetics, studying Regeneration illuminates Morgan's earlier scientific approach which emphasized the importance of studying a diversity of organisms. Surveying a broad range of regenerative phenomena allowed Morgan to institute a standard scientific terminology that continues to inform regeneration studies today. Most importantly, Morgan argued that regeneration was a fundamental aspect of the growth process and therefore should be accounted for within developmental theory. Establishing important similarities between regeneration and development allowed Morgan to make the case that regeneration could act as a model of development. The nature of the relationship between embryogenesis and regeneration remains an active area of research.

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Authors & Contributors
Maienschein, Jane A.
Hopwood, Nick
Allen, Garland E.
Weizmann, Fredric
Schmitt, Stéphane
Burian, Richard M.
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
International Journal of Developmental Biology
Filosofia e História da Biologia
Princeton University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Harvard University Press
L'Erma di Bretschneider
Developmental biology
Discipline formation
Morgan, Thomas Hunt
Wilson, Edmund Beecher
Weismann, August
Haeckel, Ernst
Needham, Joseph
Waddington, Conrad Hal
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
United States
North America: United States; Canada
Great Britain
Moscow (Russia)

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