Full text: Problems in eugenics

422Section IV.F. W. Mott. 
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Fig- 15 
A—represents the male parent ; his immature germ-cells have derived their chromosomes, 
germinal determinants or representative particles (Galton) from his father and mother, and 
they are respectively represented by different figures. The eight germ-mature chromosomes 
are reduced to four during maturation, two from each parent; the figures a-f indicate the 
combination of two maternal with two paternal, all diseased, but in different degrees and 
modes. B—represents the female parent, in which there is an inherited taint, but only to a 
slight degree, coming from the maternal side ; in the mature germ-cells only one containing 
number 13 will be tainted. C—shows some of the results which may arise from the 
conjugation of A X B. 
Certainly this idea of the scheme explains certain facts which have been 
observed in the pedigrees I have shown; it shows why the offspring of 
parents derived from two tainted ancestral stocks are more likely to suffer 
with an intense form of the disease; it shows also why more of the offspring 
are liable to be affected, and it shows why a certain proportion of the off­ 
spring may escape entirely; but according to the hypothesis thus advanced 
it does not explain why only relatively few of the offspring are tainted as 
compared with the numbers born, even though there be convergent neuro­ 
pathic inheritance, that is, the germinal determinants of both parents may 
be largely tainted and yet fewer offspring are affected by the disease than 
would be expected. In neuroses and psychoses it is not a disease that is 
transmitted but a predisposition or tendency, and some other factor than 
the inborn is required to produce the disease. If we ask ourselves the ques­ 
tion : How could Nature best purify an unsound stock? the obvious answer 
would be to cause coalescence or crystallization out of the unsound germinal 
determinants into a few of the offspring, leaving the germ-plasm of the 
others free. This would not only purify the stock by segregation but by 
concentration in one or two offspring; it would lead to intensification and 
anticipation of the disease. The diseased offspring would be unfit for the 
struggle for existence and propagation. In putting forward this coalescence 
theory of similar diseased germinal determinants, I may mention in support 
of it a statement made by Galton in his great work on Natural Inheri­ 
tance. In the process of transmission by inheritance elements derived 
from the same ancestors are apt to appear in large groups, just as if they 
had clung together in the pre-embryonic stage, as perhaps they did. 
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