T. H. Huxley's Criticism of German Cell Theory: An Epigenetic and Physiological Interpretation of Cell Structure [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Biology 33 (2):247 - 289 (2000)
In 1853, the young Thomas Henry Huxley published a long review of German cell theory in which he roundly criticized the basic tenets of the Schleiden-Schwann model of the cell. Although historians of cytology have dismissed Huxley's criticism as based on an erroneous interpretation of cell physiology, the review is better understood as a contribution to embryology. "The Cell-theory" presents Huxley's "epigenetic" interpretation of histological organization emerging from changes in the protoplasm to replace the "preformationist" cell theory of Schleiden and Schwann (as modified by Albert von Kölliker), which posited the nucleus as the seat of organic vitality. Huxley's views influenced a number of British biologists, who continued to oppose German cell theory well into the twentieth century. Yet Huxley was pivotal in introducing the new German program of "scientific zoology" to Britain in the early 1850s, championing its empiricist methodology as a means to enact broad disciplinary and institutional reforms in British natural history.
Keywords cell theory  morphology  Thomas Henry Huxley  physiology  Schleiden-Schwann cell theory  Romantic biology  scientific zoology  cytology  preformationism  natural history  epigenesis   Kernmonopol  histology  Albert von Kölliker  embryology
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DOI 10.2307/4331585
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Staffan Müller-Wille (2010). Cell Theory, Specificity, and Reproduction, 1837–1870. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):225-231.
Andrew Reynolds (2010). The Redoubtable Cell. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):194-201.
Boris Jardine (2009). Between the Beagle and the Barnacle: Darwin's Microscopy, 1837–1854. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (4):382-395.

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