Teaching genetics under the embryology paradigm: Geoffrey Beale's Edinburgh Lectures, 1949-1961

Speaker: Cheryl Lancaster # Durham University

25th Mar 2019

15:30 - 17:00

CMB Staff Room (6th Floor)

Forty years ago, Gar Allen wrote two papers suggesting that the discipline of genetics emerged from the embryology paradigm in the early twentieth century. Although Thomas Hunt Morgan believed it useful for overall understanding to not separate development, evolution, and heredity, he found that experimentally, he needed separation. This, Allen argued, led to the distinction of genetics from an embryology paradigm. My paper adds to the discourse on this topic, by exploring the teaching of genetics in the mid-twentieth century, particularly asking whether the links between embryology and genetics remained for those learning about heredity as undergraduates. To do this, I utilise the archives of Geoffrey Beale, who taught genetics at Edinburgh from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s. Will Beale's lecture notes confirm Allen's belief about genetics becoming a separate discipline by the mid-twentieth century, or will they show that genetics and embryology remained inseparable?