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Rheinberger Hans-Jörg | Fellow Visitor
2018-09-17 - 2018-10-31 | Research area: History of Biology
Richard Goldschmidt’s Experimental Work and the Notion of Phenocopy

I would like to use my short stay at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for a study of the experimental genetical work of Richard Goldschmidt with Lymantria. Goldschmidt was appointed Director at the newly founded Kaiser Wilhlem Institute for Biology in Berlin-Dahlem in 1914. Together with Carl Correns and Max Hartmann, he made the Institute a leading center for experimental genetics. In earlier work, I have already looked in detail into the experimental work of botanist Carl Correns. Another of my earlier studies followed Max Hartmann’s experiments on the asexual propagation of protists, as well as the experimental system exploring gene action in Ephestia of Alfred Kühn, the successor of Goldschmidt as Director at the KWIB (all published in An Epistemology of the Concrete –Twentieth Century Histories of Life, Duke University Press 2010). Goldschmidts experimental work has so far found less attention than his theoretical publications and evolutionary conjectures. I would like to pursue my studies on the history of genetics at the KWIB with a study on Goldschmidt. Of particular interest in this context is the formation of the concept of “phenocopy” and the role that the phenomena covered by it played in the historical building up of an experimental access to gene physiology. I have already collected the literature for carrying out that work, and I would like to take advantage of a stay at the KLI for screening that literature in a concentrated effort.