Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Eugenics

Controversial study of cultural mechanisms that may improve or impair the hereditary physical or mental qualities of future generations of human populations. One who undertakes such study is known as a eugenist. Negative eugenics aims to decrease the frequencies of alleles that produce undesirable phenotypes. Positive eugenics aims to increase the frequencies of alleles that contribute to desirable phenotypes. Term coined by Francis Galton.

Cf. euthenics and euphenics.

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