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Postulating that Inheritance of Specific Traits is Controlled by Particles Called Pangenes (1889 – 1909)


Hugo de Vries

Wilhelm Johannsen

In 1889 Dutch botanist and geneticist Hugo de Vries published Intracellulare Pangenesis in Jena at the press of Gustav Fischer. In this brief book he postulated that inheritance of specific discrete traits was transmitted during cell division by particles which he called pangens (English: pangenes). These he described as the smallest particle representing one hereditary characteristic. 

♦ Twenty years later Danish botanist and geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen abbreviated de Vries's term to gen to describe the fundamental physical and functional units of heredity. "Gen" in Danish and German word was translated into English as "gene."