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

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

Page 204

to the elaborate organism of man, and we must
not forget that man differs from the other organ-
isms in that he can take conscious note of the
conditions of his heritage and of his environment
and can be guided in a measure by what he thus
This fundamental fact gives man a place apart
in the entire scheme of evolution. But it does not
remove mankind from the limitations imposed by
the laws of hereditary transmission. He can con-
sciously modify his environment and he can be
guided in his selections by his knowledge of
heredity; but he cannot free himself from the
thralldom of environmental influences or from the
inexorable limitations of his ancestral heritage.
In some respects, indeed, man is far more ham-
pered when he attempts to apply the laws of
heredity to his own race than he is in making
application of the same laws to the basis of tran-
sient animals under domestication. The necessi-
ties of the social organism that he has built up
place limitations on his freedom of selection in
the mating of individuals and even sharper restric-
tions on his selections among the progeny for the
parents of future generations.
Indeed, until very recently it has not been
thought fitting that man should give any considera-
tion whatever to the scientific breeding of his own

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