The topic # 8. August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914).

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1883   August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914) points out the distinction in animals between the somatic cell line and the germ cells, stressing that only changes in germ cells are transmitted to further generations. This German biologist disproved Lamarck's notion of "the inheritance of acquired characteristics." He is primarily remembered as the scientist who cut off the tails of 901 young white mice in 19 successive generations, yet each new generation was born with a full-length tail. The final generation, he reported, had tails as long as those originally measured on the first. For further Weismann's bibliography see Fler (1996).

1884-1888  Identification of the cell nucleus as the basis for inheritance was independently reported by Wilhelm August Oskar Hertwig (1849-1922) (Hertwig, 1894), the brother of Richard Karl Wilhelm Theodor von Hertwig (1850-1937), Eduard Adolf Strasburger (1844-1912) (Strasburger, 1884, 1907), Rudolph Albert von Kolliker (1817-1905) (
reference ?), and August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914) (Weismann, 1892).

1887 Edouard van Beneden (1846-1910) (
reference ?) demonstrated chromosome reduction in gamete maturation, thereby confirming August Weismann's (1834-1914) predictions (Weismann, 1883). He also discovered that all organisms of the same species have the same number of chromosomes.

1887   August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914) (
reference ?) elaborated an all-encompassing theory of chromosome behavior during cell division and fertilization and predicted the occurrence of a reduction division (meiosis) in all sexual organisms.

1888   Theodor Boveri (1862-1915) (
reference ?) verifies August Weismann's (1834-1914) predictions (Weismann, 1883) of chromosome reduction by direct observation in Ascaris.

1892   August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914) formulated the germ plasm theory which held that the germ plasm was separate from the somatoplasm and was continuous from generation to generation. The germ plasm theory is one of the most important contributions to evolutionary theory since Darwin's Origin of Species. Weismann disproved the John George Adami's (1862-1926) theory (Adami and Roy, 1892; Adami, 1901) of the heritability of certain metabolic disorders. Contrary to Weismann's theory of the non-inheritability of acquired traits, Adami believed that many exogenic intoxications and acquired disturbances of metabolism had a changing effect on the germ cells and were thus heritable. Probably, Adami's point of view stimulated occurrence of the mutation theory.

*   Weismann A, 1883. Ueber die Vererberung.
*   Weismann A, 1887.
Reference ???
* Weismann A, 1892. Das Keimplasma. Eine Theorie der Vererbung.

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