A tale of two papers

Hereditas. 2014 Dec;151(6):119-22. doi: 10.1111/hrd2.00073.


Two papers published in HEREDITAS between 1921 and 1939 show how the attitude towards race biology changed in the course of the interwar period in the Nordic countries. In the early 1920s race biology was seen to constitute a legitimate science. Ordinary human genetics prevailed, however, over race biology already in the very beginning on the pages of HEREDITAS. Population thinking was introduced into the study of human heredity around the year 1930. It effectively contradicted the concept of the race. Interestingly, HEREDITAS does not carry a single paper on eugenics and sterilization. In 1939 we see a final repudiation of the doctrines on race. Times had changed and the National Socialists had usurped the doctrines of race in Germany.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Eugenics
  • Genetics, Population / history
  • Genome, Human*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / history*
  • Racial Groups / genetics
  • Racial Groups / history*