Francis Galton: Pioneer of Heredity and Biometry

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JHU Press, Nov 19, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 357 pages
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If not for the work of his half cousin Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory might have met a somewhat different fate. In particular, with no direct evidence of natural selection and no convincing theory of heredity to explain it, Darwin needed a mathematical explanation of variability and heredity. Galton's work in biometry—the application of statistical methods to the biological sciences—laid the foundations for precisely that. This book offers readers a compelling portrait of Galton as the "father of biometry," tracing the development of his ideas and his accomplishments, and placing them in their scientific context.

Though Michael Bulmer introduces readers to the curious facts of Galton's life—as an explorer, as a polymath and member of the Victorian intellectual aristocracy, and as a proponent of eugenics—his chief concern is with Galton's pioneering studies of heredity, in the course of which he invented the statistical tools of regression and correlation. Bulmer describes Galton's early ambitions and experiments—his investigations of problems of evolutionary importance (such as the evolution of gregariousness and the function of sex), and his movement from the development of a physiological theory to a purely statistical theory of heredity, based on the properties of the normal distribution. This work, culminating in the law of ancestral heredity, also put Galton at the heart of the bitter conflict between the "ancestrians" and the "Mendelians" after the rediscovery of Mendelism in 1900. A graceful writer and an expert biometrician, Bulmer details the eventual triumph of biometrical methods in the history of quantitative genetics based on Mendelian principles, which underpins our understanding of evolution today.

  

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Contents

A Victorian Life
xvii
Travels
4
The Near East 184546
5
South West Africa 185052
9
Vacation Tours
16
Scientific Career
19
The Royal Geographical Society
20
Exploration in Central Africa
21
Natural Inheritance 1889
173
The Importance of the Normal Distribution to Galton
178
Galtons Quincunx
180
Regression and the Bivariate Normal Distribution
182
Correlation
189
Two Concepts of Probability
194
The Development of Statistics
200
Regression Theory
204

The British Association
25
Inventions
26
Meteorology
28
Heredity and Evolution
30
Photography
32
Fingerprints
33
Characterization
34
Hereditary Ability
40
Hereditary Talent and Character 1865
42
Hereditary Genius 1869
44
English Judges
46
Comparison of Results for All Professions
48
Transmission through Male and Female Lines
52
The Reception of Hereditary Genius
55
Nature and Nurture
58
The History of Twins 1875
62
Galtons Hereditarianism
65
Epilogue
69
Number of Kinsfolk
72
Eugenics
77
Later History of Eugenics
82
America
85
Germany
90
The Rationale of Eugenics
96
The Mechanism of Heredity
100
Galtons Knowledge of Heredity in 1865
101
The NonInheritance of Acquired Characters
103
The Law of Reversion
105
Darwins Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis
106
Reversion
108
The Inheritance of Acquired Characters
110
Xenia and Telegony
111
Galtons Reaction to Pangenesis
112
An Experimental Test of Pangenesis
114
Galtons Theory of Heredity in the 1870s
117
Similarities between Relatives
121
Galtons Ideas on Heredity in 1889
125
Discussion
129
Weismann and the Continuity of the GermPlasm
130
De Vriess Theory of Intracellular Pangenesis
131
Segregation
134
Blending Inheritance
136
Fleeming Jenkin and the Problem of Swamping
139
Four Evolutionary Problems
145
The Evolution of Gregariousness
148
The Fertility of Heiresses
151
The Extinction of Surnames
154
The Evolution of Sex
158
A Theory of Heredity 1875
159
Three Unpublished Essays
161
The Charms of Statistics
166
Quetelet and the Average Man
167
Galton and the Normal Distribution
171
Statistical Theory of Heredity
207
A Theory Based on Pangenesis
208
Typical Laws of Heredity 1877
209
An Experiment with Sweet Peas
210
Solution of the Problem
213
Johannsens Experiments with Beans
216
The Inheritance of Human Height
222
The Advantages of Height
223
The Regression of Offspring on MidParent
227
Kinship
229
Fraternal Regression
231
Variability in Fraternities and CoFraternities
233
The Law of Ancestral Heredity
236
Galtons Formulation of the Ancestral Law
237
Galtons Derivation of the Law in 1885
239
Derivation of the Law in 1897
242
Galtons Law As It Should Have Been
245
Karl Pearsons Interpretation of the Ancestral Law
248
The Ancestral Law and Mendelism
255
Weldon and Mendelism
257
Pearson and Mendelism
259
Yules Reconciliation of the Law with Mendelism
264
The Regression on MidAncestral Values
270
Discontinuity in Evolution
273
Galtons Theory of Discontinuous Evolution
274
Stability of Type
275
Perpetual Regression
279
Selection Experiments
282
The Fallacy of Perpetual Regression
283
Discontinuity in Evolution 1894
286
Speciation and Saltation
290
De Vries and The Mutation Theory
292
Punctuated Equilibria
295
Biometry
297
The Demonstration of Natural Selection
298
The Career of W F R Weldon
299
The Common Shrimp
300
The Shore Crab
301
Stabilizing Selection in Snails
306
Bumpuss Sparrows
307
Multivariate Selection
310
Quantitative Genetics
313
The Multiple Factor Hypothesis
314
The HardyWeinberg Law
316
Mendelian Theory of Quantitative Genetics
319
The Response to Selection
322
Coda
325
Multivariate Selection Theory
327
The Response to Selection
329
References
331
Index
349
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About the author (2003)

Michael Bulmer is Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University.

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