Full text: Problems in eugenics

338Section I.R. C. PUNNETT. 
and “ repulsion.” Characters, each exhibiting simple Mendelian segrega­ 
tion, may become linked together more or less completely in the process of 
heredity, or the reverse may occur. Our knowledge of these phenomena 
is at present almost completely confined to cases in plants, but evidence is 
beginning to be obtained for their occurrence in animals. It is not unlikely 
that they will be found to play a considerable part in human heredity. For 
one of the most noticeable things about man is the frequency with which 
children resemble one or other parent to the seemingly almost complete 
exclusion of the other. In view of the mongrelisation of the human race, 
the frequency of these cases is very remarkable, and can hardly fail to 
suggest that some sort of coupling between characters plays a large part in 
human heredity. 
Except in very few cases, our knowledge of heredity in man is at present 
far too slight and too uncertain to base legislation upon. On the 
other hand, experience derived from plants and animals has shewn that 
problems of considerable complexity can be unravelled by the experimental 
method, and the characters concerned brought under control. Though the 
direct method is hardly feasible in man, much may yet be learnt by collecting 
accurate pedigrees and comparing them with standard cases worked out in 
other animals. But it must be clearly recognised that the collection of such 
pedigrees is an arduous undertaking demanding high critical ability, and 
only to be carried out satisfactorily by those who have been trained in and 
are alive to the trend of genetic research.

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