Hopeful heretic - Richard Goldschmidt's genetic metaphors

Ehud Lamm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Richard Goldschmidt famously rejected the notion of atomic and corpuscular genes, arranged on the chromosome like beads-on-a-string. I provide an exegesis of Goldschmidt's intuition by analyzing his repeated and extensive use of metaphorical language and analogies in his attempts to convey his notion of the nature of the genetic material and specifically the significance of chromosomal pattern. The paper concentrates on Goldschmidt's use of metaphors in publications spanning 1940-1955.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-406
Number of pages20
JournalHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Analogical models
  • Gene action
  • Genetic hierarchy
  • Systemic mutation


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