Website Search
ID 16324

Concept 14: Mendelian genetics cannot fully explain human health and behavior.

Concept 14:  Mendelian genetics cannot fully explain human health and behavior.
Description:
The eugenics movement applied Mendel's laws to complex human behaviors.
Transcript:
There was obvious interest in applying Mendel's laws to agriculture. Mendel's ideas were also embraced by the eugenics movement, the goal of which was to improve the human species by better breeding. Eugenicists encouraged marriages between people of "good" genetic stock, and discouraged reproduction of the "genetically unfit." Eugenicists wrongly used simple dominant/recessive schemes to explain complex behaviors and mental illnesses — which we now know involvemany genes. They also failed to account for environmental effects on human development. In the United States, restrictive eugenics legislation reflected political and social prejudices, rather than genetic facts. The eugenic description of human life was finally discredited by the horrible consequences of the Nazi quest for racial purity.
Keywords:
mendelian genetics, social prejudices, racial purity, reproduction, agriculture, human species
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

11821. "The German Racial Policy," by C.G. Campbell, Eugenical News (vol.21:2)
"The German Racial Policy," by C.G. Campbell, Eugenical News (vol.21:2)
11817. "Eugenical Sterilization in Germany," Eugenical News (vol. 18:5), commentary and full translation of the German sterilization statute of 1933 (1)
"Eugenical Sterilization in Germany," Eugenical News (vol. 18:5), commentary and full translation of the German sterilization statute of 1933 (1)
11755. "Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (17)
"Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (17)
11822. "The German Racial Policy," by C.G. Campbell, Eugenical News (vol.21:2) (1)
"The German Racial Policy," by C.G. Campbell, Eugenical News (vol.21:2) (1)
10396. Program of the 8th annual meeting of the American Breeders Association
Program of the 8th annual meeting of the American Breeders Association
10397. Program of the 8th annual meeting of the American Breeders Association (1)
Program of the 8th annual meeting of the American Breeders Association (1)
16300. Concept 12: Evolution begins with the inheritance of gene variations.
Changes in genes over time lead to evolution.
11744. "Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (6)
"Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (6)
11758. "Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (20)
"Eugenics and Society" (The Galton Lecture given to the Eugenics Society), by Julian S. Huxley, Eugenics Review (vol 28:1) (20)
15760. Eugenics montage
Eugenics montage: chronicle
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving