1 Introduction</h5> Telegony is a discredited genetic phenomenon that a previous male may influence the characteristics of offspring subsequently borne by the same female to another male. It has been one of the most interesting and controversial problems of heredity ( Burkhardt, 1979 ). Charles Darwin accepted this phenomenon as an incontestable fact and collected many alleged examples. The most notorious instance, and one that Darwin himself believed to have been “perfectly well ascertained,” is that of Lord Morton's mare, which had her first foal to a quagga, a species of zebra. Subsequently she mated with black Arabian horse and produced two foals, which bore the markings of the quagga. Darwin concluded that “there can be no doubt that the quagga affected the character of the offspring subsequently begot by the black Arabian horse”. He considered telegony to be of special importance for understanding the mechanisms of heredity, and advanced this case as one of several in support of his Pangenesis, a developmental theory of heredity ( Liu, 2008 ). Herbert Spencer (1893) firmly believed in the existence of telegony, and regarded it as a major weapon in his debate with August Weismann over the reality of the
Gene – Elsevier
Published: Jul 25, 2013
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