Davenport's Dream (21st Century Reflections on Heredity and Eugenics)
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Davenport's Dream (21st Century Reflections on Heredity and Eugenics)

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In this new volume, prominent academics discuss themes from Davenport's book (Heredity in Relation to Eugenics) - human genetic variation, mental illness, nature vs. nurture, human evolution - in a contemporary context. Davenport's original book is reprinted along with the essays., In 1911, the influential geneticist Charles Davenport published Heredity in Relation to Eugenics, advancing his ideas of how genetics would improve society in the 20th century. It became a college textbook and a foundation for the widespread eugenics movement in the United States. Nearly 100 years later, many of the issues raised by Davenport are again being debated, in different guises. In this new volume, prominent academics discuss themes from Davenport's book-human genetic variation, mental illness, nature vs. nurture, human evolution-in a contemporary context. Davenport's original book is reprinted along with the essays. This book will be useful to historians of science as well as those interested in the social implications of human genetics research-past, present, and future., Preface Jan A. Witkowski and John R. Inglis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Foreword Matt Ridley, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Genes and Politics James D. Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Charles Benedict Davenport, 1866-1944 Jan A. Witkowski, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory The Eugenic World of Charles Benedict Davenport Elof A. Carlson, University at Stony Brook Davenport's Dream Maynard V. Olson, University of Washington Genetic Determinism and Evolutionary Ethics: A Mitochondrial Perspective Douglas C. Wallace, University of California, Irvine Psychiatric Genetics in an Era of Relative Enlightenment Daniel R. Weinberger, National Institute of Mental Health, and David Goldman, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Genes in Mind? Lindsey Kent, St. Andrews University, and Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University Davenport and Heredity Counseling Philip R. Reilly, Interleukin Genetics Genetics and Equality Ronald Dworkin, New York University School of Law Genetics and Human Nature Lewis Wolpert, University College London A Reprint of Heredity in Relation to Eugenics Charles Benedict Davenport (Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1911) Index, Th[is] volume, edited by two current members of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Jan Witkowski and John Inglis, is important: well worth reading and well worth having for classroom instruction at any level from high school through graduate school, divinity school, medical school, or law school...because of the essays, I am pleased to recommend the volume to the broadest possible audience. Davenport's reprinted text may be thought of as an example of one of Stephen Gould's evolutionary 'spandrels,' that is, a scaffolding of now-useless information on which is built a novel and viable structure. In this case, the current viable and valuable structure is the set of commentaries. These elegantly summarize the state of medical genetics today, touching on aspects such as the Human Genome Project, ex vivo technologies of genetic selection, intentional variation and quick detection by reverse genetics, and the emerging understanding of the vast complexity of RNA-driven gene regulation by non-coding regions that rarely expresses itself as a 'single gene' phenotype. The crucial question remains: in light of the disasters of eugenics, what is the proper use of what we know about human DNA? The essays (especially those by Maynard Olson and Douglas Wallace, the editors' introduction, and James Watson's personal reflections) provide a firm foundation for answering that question: We are the products of natural selection working on inevitable, unavoidable genetic variation. That variation will never cease. The broadest possible definition of 'normal' is the one closest linked to the realities of natural selection. No one can say which (if any) human genetic variants will survive the anthropocene epoch we have just entered. Therefore eugenics was and remains a dead end, and it cannot be the answer. Science In Davenport's Dream, editors Witkowski and Inglis (both, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) have compiled contributions from twelve scholars who analyze current research pertaining to some of Davenport's theories. Is there any indication that some forms of mental illness follow a true Mendelian inheritance pattern? How does mitochondrial DNA contribute to eugenics? A facsimile of Davenport's original work is included. This book would be valuable as a basis for discussions in bioethics or social policy courses. Choice

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