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Did Sutton and Boveri propose the so-called Sutton-Boveri chromosome hypothesis?

Author(s): Martins L.A.-C.P.

Journal: Genetics and Molecular Biology
ISSN 1415-4757

Volume: 22;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 261;
Date: 1999;
Original page

The "Sutton-Boveri chromosome hypothesis" attempted to establish a parallel between cytological chromosome behavior and the principles followed by Mendelian factors. Today, this hypothesis is well accepted; however, it was not completely accepted at its proposal (1902-3). The aim of the present study is to elucidate the meaning of the chromosome hypothesis based on the original scientific works, taking into account the scientific context of that time. The negative treatment this hypothesis received is evaluated. I conclude that it was unfair to include Boveri's name beside that of Sutton's as one of the proponents of the chromosome hypothesis of Mendelian heredity, because he did not publish any hypothesis of that kind during the relevant period (1902-1903). Moreover, no coherent chromosome hypothesis existed during that period. Sutton and other researchers of that time were strongly influenced both by cytological knowledge grounded in observations and theoretical presuppositions that led to interpretations with no observational basis. The chromosome hypothesis was not proposed as a result of experimental cytological research.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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