Medical Dictionary


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noun Weis·mann·ism \ˈwī-smə-ˌniz-əm, ˈvī-\

Medical Definition of Weismannism

  1. :  the theories of heredity proposed by August weismann stressing particularly the continuity of the germplasm and the separateness of the germ cells and soma

Biographical Note for weismannism


\ˈvīs-ˌmän\play ,

August Friedrich Leopold

(1834–1914), German biologist. Weismann ranks as one of the founders of the science of genetics. In his later years he established himself as one of the leading biologists of his time. In 1863 he joined the faculty of the University of Freiburg, where he remained until his retirement. He introduced his theory of the germ plasm in a book published in 1886. Its essence was the notion that all living things contain a special hereditary substance. His theory was the forerunner of the DNA theory. In addition he predicted that there must be a form of nuclear division in which each daughter nucleus receives only half the ancestral germ plasm contained in the original nucleus. He was an early and ardent supporter of Darwinism. Weismann firmly opposed the idea of the inheritance of acquired traits, however. In later life he became famous as a lecturer on heredity and evolution.

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