A Short History of Medical Genetics by Peter S. Harper

By Peter S. Harper

An eminent geneticist, veteran writer, OMMG sequence Editor, and famous archivist, Peter Harper provides a full of life account of the way our principles and information approximately human genetics have constructed over the last century from the point of view of somebody contained in the box with a deep curiosity in its ancient facets. Dr. Harper has researched the background of genetics and has had own touch with a bunch of key figures whose stories and reports expand again 50 years, and he has interviewed and recorded conversations with a lot of those very important geneticists. therefore, instead of being a standard background, this booklet transmits the essence of the guidelines and the folk concerned and the way they interacted in advancing- and infrequently retarding- the sector. From the origins of human genetics; in the course of the contributions of Darwin, Mendel, and different giants; the identity of the 1st human chromosome abnormalities; and up in the course of the finishing touch of the Human Genome undertaking, this Short History is written within the author's attribute transparent and private kind, which appeals to geneticists and to all these attracted to the tale of human genetics.

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He also did not hesitate to include mankind in the process, writing in the free spirit of the enlightenment, which was shortly to come to an end. Given Erasmus Darwin’s immense practical experience as a physician, as well as his philosophical mind, it is perhaps surprising that his writings, notably Zoonomia, do not contain more specific observations on the familial nature of diseases and that he does not generalize on this topic, as did Joseph Adams a few years later. Lamarck and “Lamarckism” Contemporary with but slightly younger than Erasmus Darwin, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (Fig.

In the 17th century, the disciplines of anatomy, and then of microscopy, were applied to these issues, notably with the identification of the gametes, 29 30 THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN AND MEDICAL GENETICS although their role and function would remain disputed for a considerable time. William Harvey (Fig. 1–8) made particular studies of the egg in the chicken and other species (although the mammalian egg was recognized only later). Harvey generalized his observations in the dictum ex ovo omnia—”from the egg, all things”a statement that appeared on the frontispiece to his 1651 book, De Generatione Animalium, in which he brought together his observations.

This principle was first recognized when Camerarius (see later discussion) discovered sexual processes Before Mendel in plants in 1694. From the outset, workers in genetics, including medical geneticists, have moved easily between species, often using evidence from one species to support an argument relating to another. Despite the pitfalls of this approach, it has on the whole been productive, and it has been strikingly reinforced by modern molecular discoveries showing how little many genes have changed over the millennia.

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