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Am J Hum Genet. 1991 Nov;49(5):1109-18.

Eugenics: past, present, and the future.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh 15224.


During the past 20 years there has been a resurgence of interest in the history of the eugenics movements, particularly those of the United States and Germany. Unfortunately, most of these accounts have been published in nonmedical and nongenetic journals, so they are not readily available to geneticists or physicians. The authors of this article are concerned about the lack of information that geneticists, physicians, and students have concerning the origin and progress of these movements. This article provides a short history of the American and German eugenics programs and concludes with a review of their possible relations to our current practices. It is hoped that this will encourage institutions to include, in master's Ph.D., and M.D. programs in human genetics, lectures, seminars, and journal clubs on the topic of eugenics.

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