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Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926 / Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application
(1914)

[Luther Burbank -- the bearing of his work on human life -- on improving the human plant],   pp. [202]-246 PDF (10.0 MB)


Page 237

IMPROVING THE HUMAN PLANT
But in one case, as in the other, such changes
are, after all, only matters of minor detail.
A plum tree transplanted from Japan may put
out a somewhat larger growth of twigs and a
somewhat larger and more highly flavored fruit
than was its wont in its native habitat. But at
best it remains unmistakably a Japanese plum.
The modifications wrought by the environment
are matters of detail; the fundamentals of hered-
ity, built up by thousands of generations of past
environments, are fixed beyond immediate change.
Nor can we doubt that the same thing is true of
the fundamental physical, mental, and moral
traits of the alien races that make up the great
army of immigrants that come to our ports in such
numbers as to make their migration, in all prob-
ability, by far the largest and most rapid niigra-
tion of human races that ever took place in the
history of the world.
The total number of immigrants that have come
to America since 1880-within the compass, there-
fore, of a single generation-is more than twenty
million.
This is a number in excess of the total popula-
tion of America at any census prior to 1850.
Such an influx of new blood must of necessity
change in very large measure the aggregate hered-
ity of the population of America. Whatever the
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