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The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom is a classic botany essay about pollination by Charles Darwin. Various means which favour or determine the cross-fertilisation of plants.--Benefits derived from cross-fertilisation.--Self-fertilisation favourable to the propagation of the species.--Brief history of the subject.--Object of the experiments, and the manner in which they were tried.--Statistical value of the measurements.--The experiments carried on during several successive generations.--Nature of the relationship of the plants in the later generations.--Uniformity of the conditions to which the plants were subjected.--Some apparent and some real causes of error.--Amount of pollen employed.--Arrangement of the work.--Importance of the conclusions. The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom is a book on evolution in plants by Charles Darwin, first published in 1876. In this book Darwin examines the effects of cross and self fertilisation of plants and provides experimental evidence for a hypothesis stated in his famed book of 1859, Origin of Species, that "... in none [i.e. plant] [...]can self-fertilisation go on for perpetuity" (Origin, p. 101). He reports on experiments conducted on over 60 different species of plants, where he used controlled pollinations in order to produce self-fertilised and cross-fertilised descendants. Through growth experiments of this progeny, he concluded that self-fertilised progeny performed poorer in most species and for most traits measured. Thus he showed that inbreeding may have severe detrimental effects on progeny. While this idea was accepted by many, e.g. plant and animal breeders, Darwin's book provided overwhelming experimental support for this idea. This book has remained the starting point for the study of inbreeding and is cited in scientific papers to this effect to this day.
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After eleven years of meticulous experimentation and observation, described in this volume, Darwin was ready to publish in 1876 his detailed study of the different effects of cross- and self-fertilisation in plants. His findings form the basis of all modern plant breeding programmes.About the Author:
Charles Darwin was an English naturalist and author best-known for his revolutionary theories on the origin of species, human evolution, and natural selection. A life-long interest in the natural world led Darwin to neglect his medical studies and instead embark on a five-year scientific voyage on the HMS Beagle, where he established his reputation as a geologist and gathered much of the evidence that fuelled his later theories.A prolific writer, Darwin s most famous published works include The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin died in 1882, and in recognition of his contributions to science, is buried in Westminster Abbey along with John Herschel and Isaac Newton.
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