Book - Experimental Embryology (1909)

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Jenkinson JW. Experimental Embryology. (1909) Claredon Press, Oxford.

Jenkinson (1909): 1 Introductory | 2 Cell-Division and Growth | 3 External Factors | 4 Internal Factors | 5 Driesch’s Theories - General Conclusions | 6 Appendices
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Experimental Embryology

Experimental Embryoijogy


J. W. Jenkinson. M.A.. D.Sc.

Lecturer in Embryology in the University of Oxford



For the biologist there are, I conceive, in the main two problems. One is to give an account of those activities or functions by means of which an organism maintains its specific form in an environment. The other is to find the causes which determine the production of that form, whether in the race or in the individual. The solution of the first of these problems is the business of physiology, in the usual sense of the term. The second falls to morphology.

It is with the origin of form that we are here concerned, and in particular with its origin in the individual. The endeavour to discover by experiment the causes of this process — as distinct from the mere description of the process - is a comparatively new branch of biological science, for Experimental Embryology, or, as some prefer to call it, the Mechanics of Development (Entwicklungsmechanik), or the Physiology of Development, really dates from Roux's production of a half-embryo from a. half-blaatomere, and the consequent formulation of the ‘ Mosaik-Theorie’ of self-differentiation. That hypothesis has been the focus of much fruitful criticism and controversy, the experiment has been followed by many others of the same kind, and the present volume is an attempt to sketch the progress of these researches and speculations on the nature and essence of differentiation, as well as of those which deal with growth, cell-division, and the external conditions of development.

In writing this review I have had the very great advantage of an excellent model in the textbook of Korsehelt and Heider (Lehrbuch cler fucrgleichemleat Entwio/cluugsgeschiclzte (Zer 1ve'rbelZo.~e'n T/u'c7'e, Allgemeiner Theil, Jena, 1902). I have indeed followed the general arrangement adopted by these authors fairly closely except in one respect. I believe so strongly that the processes of growth and cell-division, though they always (in the Metazoa) accompany, are yet distinct from, differentiation, that I have felt justified in treating them in a chapter apart from the other internal factors of development. The external factors—whether of growth, celhdivision, or differentiation - are discussed in Chapter III, and the ground is thus cleared for a consideration of the real problem — the differentiation of specific form.

The last chapter is devoted to the theories, scientific and philosophical, of Hans Driesch. I sincerely hope that Herr Driesch will allow my great admiration for the former to atone in some measure for my inability to accept the tenets of nee-vitalism.

It is a very great pleasure to me to acknowledge my indebtedness to the Delegates and Secretaries of the Clarendon Press, and in particular to Professor Osler, for undertaking the publication of this book, as well as for the pains which have been expended in its preparation. Dr. Osler also took the trouble to read through the whole of the manuscript, and Mr. G. V. Smith and Dr. Haldane have been kind enough to look through certain chapters.

To Dr. Ramsden I am under great obligations for his assistance in that part of Chapter II, Section 1, in which surface-tensions are discussed; to Dr. Vernon for calling my attention to Roberts’s work on Anthropometry, and to Mr. Grosvenor for the information embodied in the foot-note on p. 89. Mr. A. D. Lindsay has given me invaluable assistance in those sections of Chapter V which deal with the philosophy of Kant, while, for Aristotle, I was fortunately able to attend Professor Bywater’s lectures on the De Anima.

I can hardly express the debt I owe to Mr. J. A. Smith for much friendly counsel and criticism, although he is, of course, in no way responsible for the philosophical speculations in which I have ventured to indulge.

The illustrations are largely borrowed from Korschelt and Heider’s work, and I must thank Herr Gustav Fischer, of Jena, for his readiness in supplying the blocks. Others are from the original publications‘, and I am obliged to the proprietors for permission to make use of them. A few are my own.

In the appendices will he found an account of some recent work on the relation between the symmetry of the egg and that of the embryo in the Frog, and on the part played by the nucleus in ditt'c1-entiation.

Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, the Journal of Experimental Zoology (Williams 8; Wilkins, Baltimore), the Anm'ir(rn Journal of I‘hysz'ulo_'/_I/ (Ginn & C0., Boston), ZeIIrn~Sfu(Iim (Fischer, Jena), l’erhamIlmI_r/en 410;" A/mlumis-1-hm G(‘.s'¢'”N(‘7I((fl (Fischer, Jena), Er;/cbnisse fiber din Ii'on.m'tzm'ou dcr cIu'onmta'scIzm Kernsubslmz: (Fischer, Jena), .[r¢-kin fiir mik)'osk0])i.s¢*7¢1: .»lm¢tomi(' (Cohen, Bonn), Archizv ff/"r Entwiclcluuysnwvlzanik (Engelinunn, Leipzig), and the Popular Science .llontM3/ (Appleton & Co., New York).


Chapter I Introductory

Chapter II Cell-Division And Growth

  1. Ce1l-division
  2. Growth

Chapter III External Factors

  1. Grravitation
  2. Mechanical agitation
  3. Electricity and magnetism
  4. Light
  5. Heat
  6. Atmospheric pressure. The respiration of the embryo.
  7. Osmotic pressure. The role of water in growth
  8. The chemical composition of the medium
  9. Summary

Chapter IV Internal Factors

(1) The initial structure of the germ as a cause of differentiation.

  1. The modern form of the preformationist doctrine
  2. Amphibia
  3. Pisces
  4. Amphioxus
  5. Coe-lenterata
  6. Ecliinodcrmata
  7. Nemertinen
  8. Ctenophora
  9. Chaetopoda and Mollusca
  10. Ascidia
  11. General considerations and conclusions
  12. The part played by the spermatozoon in the determination of egg-strucure
  13. The part played by the nucleus in differentiation

(2) The actions of the parts of the developing organism on one another

Chapter V Driesch’s Theories Of Development - General Reflections And Conclusions


APPENDIX A On the symmetry of the egg, the symmetry of segmentation, and the symmetry of the embryo in the Frog


On the part played by the nucleus in differentiation

Index of Authors


Addenda Et Corrigenda

P. 5, 5 lines from bottom, for unicellular read multicellular. P. 28, line 10, after irregular, insert and in Triclads.

P. 57. To Literature acid J. Sacns. Die Anordnung den-Zellen in jiingsten Pflanzentheilen, Arb. Bot. Inst. Wurzburg, ii, 1882. _

P. 114. To Literature add G. BUNGE. Weitere Untersuchungen iiber die Athmung der Wiirmer, Zeitsc-hr. physiol. Chem. xiv, 1890.

P. 140, line 22, for prospective potentialities read prospective significanoes.

P. 225, 2 lines from bottom, for is now placed in road has now moved into.

P. 271. To Literature add W. S. Surrox. On the morphology of the chromosome group in Brachyslola magna, Biol. Bull. iv, 1902.

P. 278. To Literature add J. W. Jnxxmsox. On the effect of certain solutions upon the development of the Frog's egg, Arch. Ent. Mech. xxi, 1906.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 17) Embryology Book - Experimental Embryology (1909). Retrieved from

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