Germ Selection

Germ Selection

 

a hypothesis put forward by A. Weis-mann in 1896 as an addition to C. Darwin’s doctrine of natural selection. According to Weismann, the strongest elements of the germ plasm (determinants) increase in size, ensuring intensified development of the corresponding organs, whereas the weak ones diminish and may disappear, leading to the weakening or disappearance of the organs dependent on them. The hypothesis was directed against the idealist notion of evolution as dependent on an internal striving toward perfection (the German scientist K. Nageli) and against the theory of orthogenesis. The hypothesis of germ selection was subjected to justifiable criticism: transference of the action of selection to intracellular elements is erroneous, since the elementary selectable unit in evolution is always the individual and not a part of it.

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