Ideas about heredity, genetics, and 'medical genetics' in Britain, 1900–1982


Abstract
The aim of this paper is to understand how evolving ideas about heredity and genetics influenced new medical interests and practices and, eventually, the formation of ‘medical genetics’ as a medical specialism in Britain. I begin the paper by highlighting the social and institutional changes through which these ideas passed. I argue that, with time, there was a decisive convergence in thought that combined ideas about the familial aspects of heredity and the health needs of populations with an omnibus ‘genetic’ approach to health and illness that focused on the structures and activities of chromosomes and genes in individuals. I show how this convergence in thought was spurred on, first, by innovations in genetic science and technology in the years after 1960, and, second, by negotiated protocols and standards of medical practice worked out by bodies such as the relevant royal colleges, the linked associations and societies for medical professionals, affected training and research authorities, and the state. The notion of ‘medical genetics’ in Britain consequently gained a semblance of unanimity over its basic reference points and arrived at a meaning directly tributary to current acceptance of the term in the context of a medical specialism
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.07.004
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References found in this work BETA

Ideas of Heredity, Reproduction and Eugenics in Britain, 1800–1875.John C. Waller - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (3):457-489.

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Citations of this work BETA

Tracing the Shifting Sands of 'Medical Genetics': What's in a Name?William Leeming - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):50-60.
Tracing the Shifting Sands of ‘Medical Genetics’: What’s in a Name?William Leeming - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (1):50-60.

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