Overheated Rats, Race, and the Double Gland: Paul Kammerer, Endocrinology and the Problem of Somatic Induction [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Biology 40 (4):683 - 725 (2007)
Abstract
In 1920, Eugen Steinach and Paul Kammerer reported experiments showing that exposure to high temperatures altered the structure of the gonad and produced hyper-sexuality in "heat rats," presumably as a result of the increased production of sex hormones. Using Steinach's evidence that the gonad is a double gland with distinct sexual and generative functions, they used their findings to explain "racial" differences in the sexuality of indigenous tropical peoples and Europeans. The authors also reported that heat induced anatomical changes in the interstitial cells of the gonad were inherited by the heat rats' descendants. Kammerer used this finding to link endocrinology to his long-standing interest in the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The heat rats supported his hypothesis that the interstitial cells of the double gland were the mechanism of somatic induction in the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The Steinach-Kammerer collaboration, Kammerer's use of Steinach's "puberty gland" to explain somatic induction, and his endocrine analysis of symbiosis reveal Paul Kammerer's late career attempt to integrate endocrinology and genetics with the political ideals of Austrian socialism. With them he developed a bioethics that challenged the growing reliance on race in eugenics and instead promoted cooperation over competition in evolution. I relate his attempt to the controversies surrounding the interstitial cells, to the status of extra-nuclear theories of heredity, and to Kammerer's commitment to Austromarxist social reforms during the interwar period.
Keywords endocrinology  inheritance of acquired characteristics  interstitial cells  Paul Kammerer  race  somatic induction  Eugen Steinach
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,825
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Deborah R. Coen (2006). Living Precisely in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. Journal of the History of Biology 39 (3):493 - 523.
Michael Root (2001). The Problem of Race in Medicine. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (1):20-39.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

Added to index

2011-05-29

Total downloads

3 ( #304,442 of 1,100,101 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #127,217 of 1,100,101 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.