Article ID: CBB001420141

The Curious Case of Blending Inheritance (2014)


For more than a century, geneticists have consistently identified the origins of their science with Gregor Mendel's experiments on peas. Mendelism, they have said, demonstrated at long last that biological inheritance was not, as had so often been supposed, blending, but particulate. Many historians of biology continue to interpret the conflict of biometricians and Mendelians at the start of the twentieth century in these terms, identifying biometry with the (incorrect) blending mechanism. But this view of blending is history as war by other means. While Francis Galton's contrast between blended and alternate inheritance had become familiar by 1905, he and his interpreters understood the two forms as differing outcomes of breeding, not as rival theories. Only a few biologists in this period went beyond blending as a description of results of breeding to a blending mechanism, and these were not biometricians. Recognizing this, we can see also that statistical methods and models were central to evolutionary genetics right from the start. The evolutionary synthesis, while reshaping their role, did not create it.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Yafeng Shan; (2021)
Beyond Mendelism and Biometry (/isis/citation/CBB308136354/)

Article Edwards, A. W. F.; (2012)
Punnett's Square (/isis/citation/CBB001221605/)

Chapter Gissis, Snait B.; Jablonka, Eva; (2011)
The Exclusion of Soft (“Lamarckian”) Inheritance from the Modern Synthesis (/isis/citation/CBB001500089/)

Book Rushton, Alan R.; (2009)
Genetics in Medicine in Great Britain 1600 to 1939 (/isis/citation/CBB001020882/)

Article Roll-Hansen, Nils; (2009)
Sources of Wilhelm Johannsen's Genotype Theory (/isis/citation/CBB000932223/)

Article Adam Krashniak; Ehud Lamm; (2021)
Francis Galton’s Regression Towards Mediocrity and the Stability of Types (/isis/citation/CBB928770929/)

Book Maas, Werner Karl; (2001)
Gene Action: A Historical Account (/isis/citation/CBB000101923/)

Article Radick, Gregory; (2011)
Physics in the Galtonian Sciences of Heredity (/isis/citation/CBB001023997/)

Book Simunek, Michal; Hoßfeld, Uwe; Breidbach, Olaf; Müller, Miklós; (2010)
Mendelism in Bohemia and Moravia, 1900--1930: Collection of Selected Papers (/isis/citation/CBB001024765/)

Article Godin, Benoît; (2007)
From Eugenics to Scientometrics: Galton, Cattell, and Men of Science (/isis/citation/CBB000773318/)

Article Tabery, James; (2008)
R. A. Fisher, Lancelot Hogben, and the Origin(s) of Genotype--Environment Interaction (/isis/citation/CBB000850683/)

Article Ruiz Gutiérrez, Rosaura; Guazo, López; Suárez, Laura; (2002)
Eugenesia, herencia, selección y biometría en la obra de Francis Galton (/isis/citation/CBB000300777/)

Thesis Cannariato, Christy A.; (2007)
The Probability of Progress: Resisting History in Galton and Modern Fiction,1869--1936 (/isis/citation/CBB001561289/)

Article Pareti, Germana; (2019)
Ereditarietà come storia. Il contributo degli embriologi alla discussione biogenetica (/isis/citation/CBB806978292/)

Article Rushton, A. R.; (2000)
Nettleship, Pearson and Bateson: The biometric-Mendelian debate in a medical context (/isis/citation/CBB000110375/)

Book Everson, Ted; (2007)
The Gene: A Historical Perspective (/isis/citation/CBB000700846/)

Authors & Contributors
Bertoldi, Nicola
Yafeng Shan
Pareti, Germana
Adam Krashniak
Wynn, James
Tabery, James G.
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
18th century
17th century
Great Britain
Human Genome Project
Royal Society of London
Cambridge University

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment