By Hans-Jorg Rheinberger, Peter McLaughlin, Staffan Muller-Wille
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Extra resources for A Cultural History of Heredity
While a certain work was done by James L. Larson on Koelreuter and Linnaeus’ experiments on hybridization, the secondary literature did not pay a lot of attention to Duchesne although the story displays a much revealing example of the strategy a scholar elaborated to deal with new species. Indeed, the interest of this discovery lies at least in the fact that Duchesne attempted to understand this new production of “nature and art”, the new sort of strawberry, thanks to a model labeled genealogical tree.
In higher organisms, he speculated, parts of the body send organic elements to the reproductive organs, where they collect and combine by virtue of selective organizing forces, analogous to chemical affinities. The mixing of male and female fluids is essential, as evidenced by the resemblance of children to both parents; neither sex is privileged. At the elemental level, on this view, matter must be self-organizing; whatever the forces are, they must be intimately associated with material elements.
14 Eventually, through recent literature other options brought up concerning not Duchesne’s conception of species, but his ideas on genealogy. Pascal Tassy notably devoted a book to the issue of the historical construction and to the function of the genealogical tree in modern biology. 15 On the other hand, Giulio Barsanti’s study of the images and representations of classification up until the time of Darwin highlights another conception of Duchesne’s genealogical tree. Barsanti regarded Duchesne’s use of a genealogical tree as a misconception.
A Cultural History of Heredity by Hans-Jorg Rheinberger, Peter McLaughlin, Staffan Muller-Wille