Naming ‘genetics’

William Bateson (1861–1926)
Letter to the zoologist Adam Sedgwick coining the term ‘genetics’
England, 1905

The possibility of founding a Cambridge professorship relating to inheritance was raised as early as 1905. When the biologist William Bateson was consulted he pointed out there was a problem with what to call it, there being ‘No single word in common use [which] quite gives this meaning’. ‘Such a word’ he continued ‘is badly wanted, and if it were desirable to coin one, “Genetics” might do’. He was appointed to a temporary professorship of biology in 1908.

MS Add.8634: B42 G5 p. 19

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