germ plasm theory
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germ plasm theorya concept put forward by August Weismann (1834–1914) who suggested that the sex cells are produced by the ‘germ plasm’, which is passed on intact from generation to generation and gives rise to body cells in each individual. Nowadays we consider DNA to be the molecular equivalent of the germ plasm.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005