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J Hist Biol. 2008 Summer;41(2):267-305.

William Bateson from Balanoglossus to Materials for the study of variation: the transatlantic roots of discontinuity and the (un)naturalness of selection.

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Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, 219 O'Shaughnessy Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


William Bateson (1861-1926) has long occupied a controversial role in the history of biology at the turn of the twentieth century. For the most part, Bateson has been situated as the British translator of Mendel or as the outspoken antagonist of W. F. R. Weldon and Karl Pearson's biometrics program. Less has been made of Bateson's transition from embryologist to advocate for discontinuous variation, and the precise role of British and American influences in that transition, in the years leading up to the publication of his massive Materials for the Study of Variation (1894). In this paper, I first attempt to trace Bateson's development in his early career before turning to search for the development of the moniker "anti-Darwinist" that has been attached to Bateson in well-known histories of the neo-Darwinian Synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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