Weismann, August Friedrich Leopold

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Related to August Weismann: Germ plasm theory


August Friedrich Leopold, German biologist, 1834-1914.
weismannism - theory of the noninheritance of acquired characteristics.
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Perhaps without knowing it, by showing Rassendyll as being descended from "mixed blood," Hope was giving character to an argument made by August Weismann: that in all biological organisms there may be a "greater number" of what Weismann termed homodynamous determinants--the genetic building materials "which have the special function of impressing a like character on any part of the body"--in "one line of ancestors than in the other," a hypothesis Weismann claims as true because it "has already been shown to be the case in hybrids" (1893a, 278; emphasis in original).
(52.) August Weismann, Essays in Heredity, 2 vols.(Oxford, 1891);
He describes the origins of genetics from ancient Greece onward, important scientific events, and those who contributed to scientific understanding, such as Darwin, Mendel, and August Weismann. Modern genetics during the twentieth century is the primary focus, with discussion of the contributions of Thomas Hunt Morgan and Watson and Crick, molecular biology, social issues and biology, the understanding of DNA, the Human Genome Project, modern debates, and ethical issues.
August Weismann found the shape of nucleic (noo-KLAY-ik) acids.
In the 1880s, when August Weismann chopped off generations of mice tails and showed that such mutilations were not heritable, he did not so much disprove Lamarck as galvanize a staunch group of neo-Lamarckians.
In the 1890s, when the two sciences of thermodynamics and evolution were yet new, August Weismann realized that there was no physical necessity for the body to degrade over time.
The language of 'blood' in Beer-Hofmann's Der Tod Georgs is related to the conflict between August Weismann's theory of the unchangeable germplasm and the neo-Lamarckian view that acquired characteristics could be inherited (which implied that racial 'degeneration' could be reversed, Jews assimilated to Gentile society, and human character modified by social reforms).