GENETICS AND THE RACKS OF MAN by William C. Boyd

GENETICS AND THE RACKS OF MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Not geared for the layman, but of topical interest (which may draw some of the onlookers in the fold) is this tussle with the fussy subject of the races of man from the geneticist's point of view. In general the book summarizes changes in anthropological thinking, its scientific basis, and how genetic knowledge may apply to the study of men. Beginning with a brief mention of cultural anthropology and the work in physical anthropology, the author reviews a few fundamentals of genetics -- heredity and environment factors, factors modifying gens frequencies (mixture of populations, mutation, natural selection and genetic drift). The author then takes issue with the anthropological definition of rane which presumes ""racial"" characteristics are ""non-adaptive"", not subject to the action of natural selection. Evidence, or lack of it, would point to the impossibility of recognizing ""original strains"", of establishing an ""ideal type"" or finding an overall race difference. The genotype of the individual is derived from the population from which he sprang, but is not absolutely pre-determined -- extent of variation depends on degree of genetic variability present in the species in question. The best classification of the races of man, the author feels, is based on genetic classifications. The problem, then, more investigation in the field of genetics -- to investigate the nature of genes, and their geological distribution in the study of the evolution of races. The book ends with a glimpse into the future as well as some theories about the past, based on blood types.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1950
Publisher: Little, Brown