Advances in Geneticsby M. Demerec

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  • Advances in Genetics by M. DemerecReview by: K. C. AtwoodThe Scientific Monthly, Vol. 80, No. 2 (Feb., 1955), p. 130Published by: American Association for the Advancement of ScienceStable URL: .Accessed: 07/05/2014 14:51

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  • BOK REVIEWS Advances in Genetics. vol. VI. M. Demerec, Ed. Aca-

    demic Press, New York, 1954. ix + 488 pp. Illus. $9.80. V | OLUME six in this series comprises eight re-

    views that are, on the whole, rather specialized. Contributions in the bacterial, viral, and biochem- ical fields are notably absent, and the one paper on Neurospora treats the relatively neglected area of map construction. This onerous task is undertaken by Barratt, Newmeyer, Perkins, and Garnjobst, who have with laudable altruism stayed off the bandwagon of biosynthesis. The book contains an excellent discussion of mapping functions, maps of the linkage groups, tabu- lar data from all available sources, and lists of mutants. For those in the Neurospora field this will be, for some time, the indispensable standard reference.

    The paper of most fundamental interest is undoubt- edly P. Michaelis' 106-page summary of cytoplasmic inheritance in Epilobium, the first really extensive ac- count of this scholarly and persistent program to appear in English translation. It is rather hard going, how- ever, and one is left with the feeling that conclusions at the level of theory are still premature after more than three decades of research. There is no questioning the genetic continuity of some cytopla-smic constituents, but despite the promising line of investigation offered by plasmon alterations in this plant the problems of analyzing the plasmon into specific components and de- termining its material bases have remained insoluble. The broad generalizations that are proposed under the warning label of "the new hypothe-sis" seem, to me at least, to be without adequate foundation.

    Bentley Glass, in discussing genetic changes in human populations, skates the thin ice of speculation skill- fully, despite great difficulties peculiar to this subject. One might expect gene frequencies in man to have been so erratically affected by historical accident as to be scarcely comprehensible in terms of underlying prin- ciples, yet several existing situations have been reason- ably explained by simple models of gene flow in space or time. Assumptions often made in determining human mutation and allele frequencies are challenged, and the role of selection and genetic drift is discussed; these are matters on which our understanding has been consid- erably augmented by Glass' own demonstrations of the compensation phenomenon and of genetic drift as re- -vealed by age-group analysis.

    A more specialized aspect of human genetics, that of the newer blood groups, is reviewed by Philip Le- vene, allowing the nonspecialist an opportunity to catch up momentarily with the rapid progress of dis- covery in this field. New factors are described, both related and unrelated to previously known groups, and in many cases important in maternal-fetal incom- patibility. Particularly interesting from the genetic viewpoint is the puzzling mode of inheritance of the

    Lewis factors, their relationship to the secretor char- acter and chemical similarity to the A and B sub- stances. The unsettled nomenclature of the Rh series emphasizes the need for criterions to distinguish be- tween pseudo-alleles and multiple-alleles, and perhaps the practicability of searching pedigrees for rare in- stances of original recombination.

    Probably the world record for the greatest number of alleles at a locus is held among incompatibility genes in certain plants. The modes of inheritance, mut- ability, and physiology of systems leading to obligate outbreeding are discussed by D. Lewis in a review of comparative incompatibility in angiosperms and fungi. Phenogenetic studies in this area, such as Lewis' sero- logic analysis of pollen, provide a promising approach to fundamental problems of gene action. Charles L. Remington's article on the genetics of Colias will be of special interest to the systematist, since it deals with the genetic bases of polymorphism in natural populations of Colias and other butterflies. Finally, two papers are mainly concerned with practical applications. One is by John Hancock, on monozygotic twins in cattle and the useful comparison of within-set and between-set variance in judging the heritability of economic traits; the other is by Alan Robertson, on artificial insemina- tion and livestock improvement, in which it is con- cluded that the facilitation of progeny-testing programs should become the most valuable application of this powerful technique.

    K. C. ATWOOD Biology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Tomorrow Is Already Here. Robert Jungk. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1954. x + 241 pp. $3.50. T HE author is a Swiss journalist who has led a

    varied life. As a Jewish student in Berlin, he was arrested the day after the Reichstag fire but was freed very soon. He left Germany and traveled in many countries, studied at the Sorbonne, and completed his formal education at Zurich. Between 1947 and 1953 he traveled throughout the U.S. as a correspondent for some Swiss newspapers. Tomorrow Is Already Here represents the results of these journalistic activities. It is being published simultaneously in 11 countries. The picture of America and Americans which it paints thus will be widely disseminated and will add its bit to the present complex of notions about the U.S. and its inhabitants.

    The author makes no attempt to describe the nation as a whole. Instead he presents some 25 highly sub- jective and impressionistic vignettes arranged very loosely in six groups, each group being concerned- more or less-with some very modem aspect of Amer- ican life. Scientific discoveries, gadgets, research am- bitions, and their impact on people and ideas are the themes of the short essays, which are written very


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    Article Contentsp. 130

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Scientific Monthly, Vol. 80, No. 2 (Feb., 1955), pp. 73-140The United Nations in Perspective [pp. 73-85]Sperm Maturescence [pp. 86-92]Enrico Fermi: 1901-1954 [pp. 92]Science as a Social and Historical PhenomenonSome Aspects of Science during the French Revolution [pp. 93-101]Dual Role of the Zeitgeist in Scientific Creativity [pp. 101-106]Influence of Philosophic Trends on the Formulation of Scientific Theories [pp. 107-111]Alternative Interpretations of the History of Science [pp. 111-116]

    Philippine Hydroelectric Development [pp. 117-123]Why Science Attaches? [pp. 124-127]Science on the MarchAtoms for Export [pp. 128-129]

    Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 130]Review: untitled [pp. 130-131]Review: untitled [pp. 131]Review: untitled [pp. 131-132]Review: untitled [pp. 132]Review: untitled [pp. 132-133]Review: untitled [pp. 133]Review: untitled [pp. 133-134]Review: untitled [pp. 134]Review: untitled [pp. 134]Review: untitled [pp. 134-135]Review: untitled [pp. 135-136]Review: untitled [pp. 136]Review: untitled [pp. 136-137]Review: untitled [pp. 137]Review: untitled [pp. 137]

    New Books [pp. 138-140]