Sir Francis Galton and the birth of eugenics
Gillham NW.
DCMB Group, Department of Biology,
Duke University,
Durham, Box 91000,
North Carolina 27708-1000, USA.
Annu Rev Genet. 2001;35:83-101.


The eugenics movement was initiated by Sir Francis Galton, a Victorian scientist. Galton's career can be divided into two parts. During the first, Galton was engaged in African exploration, travel writing, geography, and meteorology. The second part began after he read the Origin of Species by his cousin Charles Darwin. The book convinced Galton that humanity could be improved through selective breeding. During this part of his career he was interested in the factors that determine what he called human "talent and character" and its hereditary basis. Consequently, he delved into anthropometrics and psychology and played a major role in the development of fingerprinting. He also founded the field of biometrics, inventing such familiar statistical procedures as correlation and regression analysis. He constructed his own theory of inheritance in which nature and not nurture played the leading role. He actively began to promote eugenics and soon gained important converts.
Eugenics talk
Liberal Eugenics
'Designer babies'
Private eugenics
Psychiatric genetics
Human self-domestication
Selecting potential children
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
The commercialisation of pre-natal enhancement

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World