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Theoria Generationis (1774)

(Theory of generation)

This new theory by Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1733-1794) of epigenesis, the gradual building up of embryonic structures, countered the existing theory of preformation.


Historic Embryology
Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1734-1794)
Theoria Generationis 1774.jpg

Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1734-1794) was a German embryologist and anatomist best known today for identifying the Wolffian duct (mesonephric duct; ductus deferens, epididymis), Wolffian body (mesonephros) and Wolffian cyst (mesonephric origin uterine broad ligament cyst) that bear his name. Thought also to be a founder of the germ layer theory. His doctorate dissertation Theoria generationis (1774) discarded the developmental theory of preformation. Later in his career, his teaching in Berlin was opposed by the professors of the Medical-Surgical College, who had guild privileges to teach medicine.


Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1733-1794) German anatomist, biologist, and embryologist. He was one of the early founders of embryology and established the doctrine of germ layers.

Named after this researcher:

  • Wolffian duct (mesonephric duct)
  • Wolffian body (mesonephros)
  • Wolffian cyst (cyst forming from remnants of the mesonephric duct lying in the broad ligaments of the uterus)


Links: Embryology History | Genital System Development | Renal System Development

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, February 28) Embryology Theoria Generationis 1774.jpg. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/File:Theoria_Generationis_1774.jpg

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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