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I'm searching for the correct term for the part of the selfish gene evolution regarding sexes. In nature, this means the evolution of the traits such as the ducks' adaptation to "trap" the drakes' penises in order to restrict the male from attending to other females.
Sexual Conflict is the word you are looking for!
Sexual Conflict occurs whenever the optimal mating strategy for the female and the male differ. For example, in Drosophila, it is beneficial for a male to mate as much as possible, while it is beneficial for a female to mate only a few times.
I would like to expand a little on Remi.b's answer and point out that there are two key forms of sexual conflict.
Sexual conflict arises when the sexes have different routes by which they maximise fitness.
In the case of the ducks (and many other species) the males increase fitness by mating as much as possible, whereas females may optimise fitness by slowing the males rate. These sorts of conflict where behaviour or phenotype of one sex is beneficial to one sex and harmful to the other is called interlocus sexual conflict: the effects of one locus have consequences for other loci. The bed bug is a fantastic example of coevolutionary dynamics between the sexes resulting from interlocus sexual conflict - males use traumatic insemination and females appear to have made multiple adaptations in response.
"In inter-locus sexual conflict, the sexes experience opposing selection pressures on one or more traits, but the genes affecting the expression of the trait probably differ between the sexes."
Alternatively there is intralocus sexual conflict; when the evolutionary interests of either sex differ within loci. In this case selection favours different alleles in either sex. Genetic covariance needs to be reduced for the sexes to be able to move towards their own phenotypic optima, with such sexually antagonistic selection leading to sexual dimorphism when covariance is reduced.
Evolution of Genitals: Shape Matters More Than Size
As far as evolution is concerned, genital size doesn't matter — but shape does.
Genitalia are important in the evolution of new species, since compatible parts are necessary for two individuals to successfully mate. Now, new research shows that as two species diverge, evolution acts on the shape and fit of genitalia first, leaving size issues for later.
Using data from scarab beetle populations separated by anywhere from 50 years to millions of years, research led by scientists at Indiana University reveals that both male and female genitalia evolve rapidly and in parallel with one another. But between newly evolving species, genitals diverged faster in shape than they did in size.
"Parallel evolutionary divergence in male and female genitalia was something scientists long suspected or assumed, but we've had little or no data to support this assumption," said study researcher Armin Moczek, a biology professor at Indiana University, Bloomington. "But to see that this parallel divergence is so much faster for genital shape than size is a big surprise."
Strikingly, even beetle populations isolated from one another for a mere 50 years show large leaps in genitalia evolution, meaning the emergence of new species, unable to mate with one another (due to mismatched genitals), could happen faster than previously expected, Moczek said.
The researchers examined the female genital tract and the male copulatory organs of five different species of Onthopagus beetles from around the world. The most recently isolated groups were three populations in the Eastern United States, Western Australia and Eastern Australia, all of which had been taken from the Mediterranean and reintroduced by humans to far-flung habitats in the 1970s.
The researchers focused on male and female parts that interact physically during copulation — the female pygidium, a moveable plate that provides grooves and pits that serve as anchor points for the correct positioning of male genitalia, and the male parameres, which include projections that fit into those grooves and pits.
They found that the size and shape of these organs evolves in diverging populations, but that the two factors evolve separately. Female and male organs that fit together like puzzle pieces evolved into new shapes simultaneously, the researchers reported online Dec. 14 in the journal PLoS ONE.
You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.
Genetic Drift Vs. Gene Flow Vs. Natural Selection
It is a change in the allele frequency that is brought about by random sampling. Allele frequency is the proportion of individuals carrying a particular allele in a population. In other words, it is a change in the composition of the gene pool of a population that is brought about by random chance.
Example: In a population of ten green birds and ten yellow birds, all have equal chances of mating successfully to produce equal number of offspring. Due to some reason, yellow birds mated more successfully than the green ones. The new generation has say, 13 yellow birds and 9 green birds. As the number of yellow birds is greater than the number of green birds, there is a higher chance of the yellow birds interbreeding to give rise to more offspring as compared to that of green birds. Thus, an increase in the population of yellow birds is seen.
There are two mechanisms that may give rise to genetic drift.
Bottleneck effect: A drastic effect (such as a natural calamity) that may cause a drastic change in the allele frequencies due to reduced population size this will lead to over representation of certain alleles in the population. This population size will reduce further as interbreeding between the survivors may increase the chances of homozygosity of an allele that may have deleterious effect.
Founder effect: When individuals of one population migrate to a new isolated geographical area (that is not inhabited by any other population) to constitute the gene pool of that area. These new individuals make up the gene pool and are a representation of the original population in the new habitat, but in a smaller proportion.
Would you like to write for us? Well, we're looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we'll talk.
It is a change in the allele frequency brought about by the transfer of alleles or gametes from one population to another. When individuals migrate from one population to another, new alleles are introduced into the gene pool of that population, leading to a change in the allele frequency of that population.
Example: When American soldiers migrated to Vietnam during the Vietnam War, they had children with the Vietnamese women there, introducing their genes into the gene pool of the Vietnamese population.
It is a process through which a particular allele of a physical characteristic becomes more or less common in a population over a few generations. The physical characteristic that provide an adaptive advantage are selected and become more common in the population over generations.
Example: Before the Industrial Revolution, the dark peppered moth was quite rare in the United Kingdom. During the Industrial Revolution, the trees on which these moths rested were covered with soot. This resulted in a better chance of survival of these moths to reproduce efficiently, resulting in an increase in the population of these moths significantly.
Difference Between Genetic Drift and Natural Selection
► Natural selection accounts only for the positive changes in the genome that may give its possessor an adaptive advantage genetic drift accounts for all changes in the genome that may be advantageous, deleterious, or may have no effect on its possessor.
► Natural selection is usually driven as response to an organism’s environmental challenges. Genetic drift, on the other hand, is completely random and is solely based on luck.
► Natural selection will always result in the selection of allele that give an advantage to its possessor, while genetic drift may cause advantageous genes to be removed in the following generations.
► Genetic drift is largely influenced by the population size, whereas natural selection is not.
► Genetic drift may sometimes lead to the reduction of genetic variations, or may sometimes be responsible for introducing genetic variation in a population. Natural selection will always result in introducing more genetic variations in a population.
Difference Between Genetic Drift and Gene Flow
► Although, the migration of alleles is observed in the founder effect, it must be noted that unlike in gene flow, where individuals migrate from one population to another, the individuals of a population migrate to a geographical region that is not inhabited by any other population.
► A constant genetic flow is usually required to reduce genetic variation in a population, i.e., it increases that homogeneity between the two populations in which a constant genetic flow is maintained. Genetic drift, on the other hand, may or may not reduce the genetic variation.
Difference Between Gene Flow and Natural Selection
► Natural selection strives to bring about speciation (give rise to a new species) by increasing the genetic variations in the population, whereas a constant gene flow between two populations is usually required to maintain homogeneity of the alleles in the population.
Despite the differences in their mechanisms, these processes are constantly and simultaneously occurring in nature to drive evolution in the forward direction.
Darwin's theory of natural selection states that nature selects organisms that have features favorable for their survival, while eliminating inferior species. Natural selection is a key to the origin of&hellip
Genetic engineering process manipulates the DNA sequence to create a new one. The write-up focuses on the various benefits of genetic engineering.
Microevolution and macroevolution are considered to be small-scale and large-scale evolutionary changes respectively. This post provides some information about them and the difference between the two.
Seen and Unseen in Recapitulation Theory
Ontogeny is observable. Embryonic development of an organism can be studied in detail. Presently, with technologies that enable us to see the developing embryo from fertilization forward, each stage of human embryonic development and of many animals has been examined videographically in high fidelity moving pictures. Holographic moving 3D images are now also feasible. When Haeckel’s static drawings were published, they purportedly showed a comparison of the embryos of a number of vertebrates. In his own time, some saw Haeckel’s illustrations as fraudulent. Others say he took artistic liberties to emphasize a point. Regardless, the images were almost immediately shown to falsify the facts of embryonic development.
Phylogeny, by contrast with ontogeny, is not observable. No amount of scientific achievement makes it possible to see back through time to observe the fictional upward evolution of life. Neither does biological research reveal any mechanism by which a simpler kind of organism can acquire the genetic information to become a more complex kind of organism. No such transformation has ever been observed because none has ever occurred. Fossils labeled “transitional forms” are actually just animals with a variety of characteristics interpreted through an evolutionary imagination that proposes links that never existed at any time.
Thus, phylogeny is a figment it’s propaganda, invented to try to explain life without God. It fails. The claim that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” is false. Because it is false, it does not fit the fossil record and is inconsistent with any logic. Complex organisms cannot develop by accident any more than the words on this page could accidentally be formed from random arrangements of letters. But because “ evolution ” is presented to students and to the public as indisputable fact, supported by many who have believed the propaganda, recapitulation theory remains a tool for education, a visually appealing bit of manufactured evidence, and a paleontological mythology supposedly enabling evolutionists to put fossils into the “right” evolutionary lineages.
What's the correct name for the war of sexes in evolution? - Biology
The American Revolution was a time when the British colonists in America rebelled against the rule of Great Britain. There were many battles fought and the colonies gained their freedom and became the independent country of the United States. The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 until 1783.
Before the American Revolution, there were several British Colonies in the Americas. Not all of them participated in the revolution. There were 13 colonies which ended up rebelling. These were Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island.
Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull
One of the main reasons that the colonists rebelled against Great Britain is that they felt they were not represented in the British government. The British government was making new laws and taxes on the colonies, but the colonies had no say. They wanted to have some say in the British government if they were going to pay high taxes and have to live by British law.
War didn't happen right away. First there were protests and arguments. Then some small skirmishes between the colonists and the local British army. Things just got worse and worse over the course of years until the colonies and Great Britain were at war.
Each colony had its own local government. In 1774 they each elected officials to represent them at the First Continental Congress. This was the first effort of the colonies to unite and make a single government. In 1776 the Second Continental Congress declared the independence of the United States from Great Britain.
The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor by Nathaniel Currier
The new government of the United States was different than the government of the colonist's homeland, Great Britain. They decided that they didn't want to be ruled by a king anymore. They wanted a government that was ruled by the people. The new government would be a democratic government with leaders elected by the people and balances of power to make sure that no one could become king.
1 Mark Questions
1. Select the group which shares maximum number of common characters-
(a) two genera of two families
(b) two species of a genus
(c) two genera of a family
(d) two individuals of a species
Ans. (d) two individuals of a species
2. Two pea plants one with round green seeds (RRyy) and another with wrinkled yellow (rrYY) seeds produce progeny having round, yellow (RrYy) seeds. When plants are selfed, the progeny will have the following combination of characters
Ans. (b) 9:3:3:1
3. Some dinosaurs had feathers although they could not fly but birds have feathers that help them to fly. In the context of evolution this means that-
(a) reptiles have evolved from birds
(b) there is no evolutionary connection between reptiles and birds
(c) feathers are homologous structure in both the organisms
(d) Birds have evolved from reptiles.
Ans. (d) Birds have evolved from reptiles.
4. What is monohybrid cross?
Ans. The cross which occurs between the plants showing two alternate forms of a trait (character).
5. What are autosomes and sex chromosomes?
Ans. Humans cell contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. Out of 23 pairs, 22 pairs are called autosomes, rest of 1pair, which determine the sex of child is called sex chromosome.
6. Which of the following scientist gave the principles of inheritance?
(d) Watson and Crick
Ans. (a) Mendel
7. Which of the following is not correct-
(a) For every hormone there is a gene.
(b) For every protein there is a gene.
(C) For production of every enzyme there is a gene.
(d) For every molecule of fat there is a gene.
Ans. (b) For every protein there is a gene.
8. According to the evolutionary theory formation of a new species occurs generally due to-
(a) Sudden creation by nature.
(b) accumulation of variations over several generations
(c) clones formed during asexual reproduction
(d) Movement of individuals from one habitat to another.
Ans. Accumulation of variations over several generations.
9. Who coined the term ‘gene’?
Ans. Johannsen (1909) coined the term gene.
10. What are dominant genes?
Ans. Gene which expresses itself is called dominant gene.
11.The concept of origin of species by natural selection was given by.
Ans. (c) Darwin
12. It a round green seeded pea plant (RRYY) is crossed with wrinkled yellow seeded pea plant (rr yy) the seeds to be produced in F1 generation will be.
(a) Wrinkled and yellow
(b) round and green
(c) wrinkled and green
(d) round and yellow.
Ans. (b) round and green
13. The genetic constitution of an organism is called.
Ans. (a) Genotype
14. Write the scientific name of the plant on which Mendel carried out his experiments.
Ans. Pisum sativum
15. How many autosome are present in human sperm?
16. Two pink colored flowers on crossing results in 1red, 2pink and 1white flower progeny. The nature of the cross is-
(a) cross fertilization
(b) self pollination
(c) double fertilization
(d) no fertilization
Ans. (a) cross fertilization
17. A basket of vegetable contains carrot, potato, radish, and tomato. Which of them represent the correct homologous structure
(a) carrot and potato
(b) carrot and tomato
(c) radish and carrot
(d) radish and potato
Ans. (c) Radish and carrot.
18. Mendel proposed that every character is controlled by-
(a) one factor
(b) two factors
(c) one chromosome
(d) two chromosomes
Ans. (b) Two factors.
19. Who is called father of genetics?
Ans. Gregor Mendel.
20.What is the scientific name of human being?
Ans. Homo sapiens
21.The theory of chemical evolution of life was experimentally demonstrated by-
(b) Miller and Urey
Ans. (b) Miller and Urey
22. Genetics is the study of-
(a) resemblances amongst individuals
(b) heredity and environment
(c) differences amongst individuals
(d) Heredity and variations.
Ans. (d) Heredity and variations.
23.Wing of a bird and wing of an insect are
(a) Homologous organs
(b) analogous organs
(c) vestigial organ
(d) both (a) and (b)
Ans. (a) Homologous organs
24. What is heredity?
Ans. The inheritance of character from parents to offsprings is called heredity.
25. What are Mendelian factors?
Ans. Heredity units which inherit character from parents to offsprings are called Mendalian factors.
26. A Mendelian experiment consisted of breeding tall pea plants bearing violet flowers with short pea plants bearing white flowers. The progeny all bore violet flowers but almost half of them were short. This suggests that the genetic make-up of the tall parent can be depicted as
Ans. (c) TtWW
27. An example of homologous organs is
(a) Our arm and a dog’s fore-leg.
(b) Our teeth and an elephant’s tusks.
(c) Potato and runners of grass.
(d) All of the above.
Ans. (d) All of the above.
28. In evolutionary terms, we have more in common with
(a) A Chinese school-boy.
(b) A chimpanzee
(c) A spider
(d) A bacterium
Ans. (a) A Chinese school-boy.
29. What happened when Mendel crossed two traits of a character in a pea plants?
Ans. Only dominant trait appeared in F
30. Who provided experimental evidence to support theory of origin of life from inanimate matter?
Ans. Miller and Urey
31. A normal pea plant bearing colored flowers suddenly start producing white flowers. What could be the possible cause?
Ans. The appearance of white flowers is due to mutation.
32. Mention any two recessive traits of garden pea.
Ans. Dwarf (height of plant), wrinkled seed
33. What is called phylogenetic system of classification?
Ans. Classification based on evolutionary relationships of organisms.
34. What will be the percentage of ab gametes produced by AaBb parent?
Ans. 25 percent
35. Mendel crossed a pure white recessice pea plant with a dominant pure red flowered plant. What will be the first generation f hybrids.?
36. Name the chemicals which were essential for origin of life.
Ans. Proteins and nucleic acid
37. Why males are called heterogametic?
Ans. Because they have dissimilar sex chromosomes.
38. What is the percentage possibility a couple of having daughters?
Ans. 50 percent
39. Name 2 organisms in which sex determination is regulated by environmental factors.
Ans. Turtle, lizard
40. Clones of sheep are carbon copy of each other except physical health. What kind of variation is it?
Ans. Phenotypic variation
Open Thread – 05/30/2021 – Gene Expression
The above video is from Eurovision. A bunch of 20-something Italians doing rock music is pretty weird, since rock is dead for all practical purposes in the USA.
I’ve been setting up some Amazon book lists. So here is one for population genetics. I also set them up for the steppe, Roman Empire, and the origins of Islam. I’ll be adding more lists and fleshing them out.
Lots of content on my Substack. I assume most readers of this weblog are on the e-list, but who knows? Perhaps of note, two posts on the Romani. Also check out my interview with J. P. Mallory.
The ungated podcast site has more than two dozen podcasts now. If you haven’t posted a review on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, please do so.
The media’s lab leak fiasco. Matt Yglesias does a forensic analysis of what happened.
I’ve been corresponding with a reader who is of English Romanichal background, and my supposition that they have less South Asian ancestry than Roma and Iberian Romani seems correct. Closer to 10-15% than 20-30%. A lot of the ancestry (from Ancestry/Family Tree DNA) is assigned as British, so that indicates the dilution may have happened in the United Kingdom.
E. O. Wilson’s Social Conquest of the Earth is now $2.99 on Kindle (don’t know how long this will last).
The “noble lie” on masks probably wasn’t a lie: Why Western public health went all-in on a campaign against masks. Basically, they didn’t know what they were talking about, but their authority is based on the premise that they do. Also, the evidence in favor of masks isn’t really that strong, just like it wasn’t strong against them. People have polarized this issue in a way that’s crazy.
Please, Think Critically About College Admissions: you can’t help the disadvantaged by refusing to engage in critical thinking. This is nothing new to readers of this weblog, but the wave of mainstream-media propaganda around this issue is reading going to go into overdrive soon, so it is best to have the literature familiar to you (also, read A Year Without Miles).
What Are the Humanities?
These definitions are a sample from a variety of sources and more than one nation–something like a starter kit on the humanities (and their overlapping relation with what different countries also call “the liberal arts,” “the arts,” “humanities and arts,” and sometimes also the humanistically-oriented “social sciences.”
“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical linguistics literature history jurisprudence philosophy archaeology comparative religion ethics the history, criticism and theory of the arts those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”
“The humanities—including the study of languages, literature, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, comparative religion, ethics, and the arts—are disciplines of memory and imagination, telling us where we have been and helping us envision where we are going.”
“What are the humanities? It is like the notion of ‘time’ in St. Augustine: if you don’t ask, we know, but if you ask, we are left empty handed. Since the nineteenth century the humanities have generally been defined as the disciplines that investigate the expressions of the human mind. Such expressions include language, music, art, literature, theatre, and poetry. Thus, philology, linguistics, musicology, art history, literary studies, and theatre studies all belong to the realm of the humanities.”
“Research stemming from a detailed understanding of human behaviour, economies, cultures and societies can dramatically redefine the crucial decisions we need to make. These decisions may involve the future direction of our economy, ways of broadening and strengthening education provision at all levels, or how we deal with the effects of climate or constitutional change… The humanities and social sciences teach us how people have created their world, and how they in turn are created by it.”
“The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture. The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre. Areas that are sometimes regarded as social sciences and sometimes as humanities include history, archaeology, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, classical studies, law and linguistics…. The humanities and social sciences teach us how people have created their world, and how they in turn are created by it.”
God and Evolution
Does belief in biological evolution, a process characterized by death and bloodshed, question the holy and good character of the God of the Bible?
Many Christians try to fit millions of years and evolution into the biblical text. This compromise does great damage to the authority of the Bible.
The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics
But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing.
Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed "unfit," preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.
California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the Twentieth Century's first decades, California's eugenicists included potent but little known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe, as well as members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.
Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stamford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.
Stanford president David Starr Jordan originated the notion of "race and blood" in his 1902 racial epistle "Blood of a Nation," in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.
In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation's social service agencies and associations.
The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization.
The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.
Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California's quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as the Pasadena-based Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations--which functioned as part of a closely-knit network--published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis.
Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton's ideas were imported into the United States just as Gregor Mendel's principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenic advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man.
In an America demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early twentieth century. Elitists, utopians and so-called "progressives" fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton's eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: populate the earth with vastly more of their own socio-economic and biological kind--and less or none of everyone else.
The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark-haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.
How? By identifying so-called "defective" family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior--the so-called "unfit." The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.
Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 "Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder's Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population." Point eight was euthanasia.
The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a "lethal chamber" or public locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, Applied Eugenics, which argued, "From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution… Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated." Applied Eugenics also devoted a chapter to "Lethal Selection," which operated "through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency."
Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to forty percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.
Nonetheless, with eugenicide marginalized, the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first twenty-five years of eugenic legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as "bad girls," diagnosed as "passionate," "oversexed" or "sexually wayward." At Sonoma, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia.
In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 of which were on women. The state's two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals.
Even the United States Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough." This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes's words in their own defense.
Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.
Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. While Hitler's race hatred sprung from his own mind, the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.
During the '20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany's fascist eugenicists. In Mein Kampf, published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. "There is today one state," wrote Hitler, "in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States."
Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. "I have studied with great interest," he told a fellow Nazi, "the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."
Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his "bible."
Hitler's struggle for a superior race would be a mad crusade for a Master Race. Now, the American term "Nordic" was freely exchanged with "Germanic" or "Aryan." Race science, racial purity and racial dominance became the driving force behind Hitler's Nazism. Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler's war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and even hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination.
During the Reich's early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.
In 1934, as Germany's sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe upon returning from Germany ebulliently bragged to a key colleague, "You will be interested to know, that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought.…I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."
That same year, ten years after Virginia passed its sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia's Western State Hospital, observed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The Germans are beating us at our own game."
More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany's eugenic institutions. By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 -- almost $4 million in 21st-Century money -- to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 to the German Psychiatric Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, later to become the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler's systematic medical repression.
Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's eugenic complex of institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the Institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The Institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the Institute, once again, was Hitler's medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin's organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.
Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.
Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society declared of Nazism, "While we were pussy-footing around…the Germans were calling a spade a spade."
A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades, American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity. The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS OVER THREE YEAR PERIOD TO KWG INSTITUTE ANTHROPOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON TWINS AND EFFECTS ON LATER GENERATIONS OF SUBSTANCES TOXIC FOR GERM PLASM.
At the time of Rockefeller's endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that Institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer's early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the Institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenic press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed up by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenic doctor's journal he edited, that Germany's war would yield a "total solution to the Jewish problem."
Verschuer had a long-time assistant. His name was Josef Mengele. On May 30, 1943, Mengele arrived at Auschwitz. Verschuer notified the German Research Society, "My assistant, Dr. Josef Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmführer [captain] and camp physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anthropological testing of the most diverse racial groups in this concentration camp is being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer [Himmler]."
Mengele began searching the boxcar arrivals for twins. When he found them, he performed beastly experiments, scrupulously wrote up the reports and sent the paperwork back to Verschuer's institute for evaluation. Often, cadavers, eyes and other body parts were also dispatched to Berlin's eugenic institutes.
Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenic studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the institutions they helped found, and the science it helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.
After the war, eugenics was declared a crime against humanity--an act of genocide. Germans were tried and they cited the California statutes in their defense. To no avail. They were found guilty.
However, Mengele's boss Verschuer escaped prosecution. Verschuer re-established his connections with California eugenicists who had gone underground and renamed their crusade "human genetics." Typical was an exchange July 25, 1946 when Popenoe wrote Verschuer, "It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you again. I have been very anxious about my colleagues in Germany…. I suppose sterilization has been discontinued in Germany?" Popenoe offered tidbits about various American eugenic luminaries and then sent various eugenic publications. In a separate package, Popenoe sent some cocoa, coffee and other goodies.
Verschuer wrote back, "Your very friendly letter of 7/25 gave me a great deal of pleasure and you have my heartfelt thanks for it. The letter builds another bridge between your and my scientific work I hope that this bridge will never again collapse but rather make possible valuable mutual enrichment and stimulation."
Soon, Verschuer once again became a respected scientist in Germany and around the world. In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists.
In the fall of 1950, the University of Münster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics.
Human genetics' genocidal roots in eugenics were ignored by a victorious generation that refused to link itself to the crimes of Nazism and by succeeding generations that never knew the truth of the years leading up to war. Now governors of five states, including California have issued public apologies to their citizens, past and present, for sterilization and other abuses spawned by the eugenics movement.
Human genetics became an enlightened endeavor in the late twentieth century. Hard-working, devoted scientists finally cracked the human code through the Human Genome Project. Now, every individual can be biologically identified and classified by trait and ancestry. Yet even now, some leading voices in the genetic world are calling for a cleansing of the unwanted among us, and even a master human species.
There is understandable wariness about more ordinary forms of abuse, for example, in denying insurance or employment based on genetic tests. On October 14, America's first genetic anti-discrimination legislation passed the Senate by unanimous vote. Yet because genetics research is global, no single nation's law can stop the threats.
This article was first published in the San Francisco Chronicle and is reprinted with permission of the author.