Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/317

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY



OCTOBER, 1911



GENETICS[1]
By W. BATESON, M.A., F.R.S.

THE invitation to preside over the agricultural sub-section on this occasion naturally gave me great pleasure, but after accepting it I have felt embarrassment in a considerable degree. The motto of the great society which has been responsible for so much progress in agricultural affairs in this country very clearly expresses the subject of our deliberations in the words "Practise with Science" and to be competent to address you, a man should be well conversant with both. But even if agriculture is allowed to include horticulture, as may perhaps be generally conceded, I am sadly conscious that my special qualifications are much weaker than you have a right to demand of a president.

The aspects of agriculture from which it offers hopeful lines for scientific attack are, in the main, three: Physiological, pathological and genetic. All are closely interrelated, and for successful dealing with the problems of any one of these departments of research, knowledge of the results attained in the others is now almost indispensable. I myself can claim personal acquaintance with the third or genetic group alone, and therefore in considering how science is to be applied to the practical operations of agriculture, I must necessarily choose it as the more special subject of this address. I know very well that wider experience of those other branches of agricultural science or practical agriculture would give to my remarks a weight to which they can not now pretend.

Before, however, proceeding to these topics of special consideration, I have thought it not unfitting to say something of a more general nature as to the scope of an applied science, such as that to which we here are devoted. We are witnessing a very remarkable outburst of activity in the promotion of science in its application to agriculture.

  1. Address to the Agricultural Sub-section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.