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Darwin-L Message Log 2:68 (October 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<2:68>From @VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU:RMBURIAN@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU  Mon Oct 11 22:19:38 1993

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1993 23:09:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Richard M. Burian" <RMBURIAN%VTVM1.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: The term 'locus'
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

 Just back from a trip, I see that there has been some question as to
the origin of the use of the term 'locus' in genetics.  R. Rieger, A.
Michaelis, and M. M. Green, in their Glossary of Genetics and Cytogene-
tics (4th ed., 1976, Springer) ascribe it to the urtextbook of the chro-
mosome theory, Morgan, Sturtevant, Muller and Bridges' 1915 Mechanism of
Mendelian Heredity.  I only have the revised edition of 1922 on hand,
not the 1915 edition.  There are a lot of places where one would expect
the term to be used in which it is not, but it DOES occur (in the cor-
rect plural form, 'loci') at the beginning of chap. X, "The Factorial
Hypothesis," e.g. on p. 262: "Red eye color in Drosophila, for example,
must be due to a large number of factors, for as many as 25 mutations for
eye color at different loci have already come to light.  Each produced a
specific effect on eye color; it is more than probable that in the wild
fly all or many of the normal allelomorphs at these loci have something
to do with red eye color."
 The term "locus" does not appear in the index and is not strikingly
prominent, but the usage seems stable and natural in the few places
that I spotted it in a quick scan of a few passges.
 Richard Burian,  Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech
 rmburian@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu

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