Francis Galton as Geneticist:


"[C]haracter, including the aptitude for work, is heritable like every other faculty"

 -- Francis Galton, Memories of My Life

Galton was the founder of the statistical approach to heredity, now commonly called the "biometric approach", which was greatly extended and developed by Karl Pearson and his students at University College, London.  He started with Darwin's theory of pangenesis.

Darwin had proposed that the mechanism of inheritance was "pangenesis", in which "gemmules" in bodily fluids mixed during mating.  Galton proposed to test this by performing an ingenious series of experiments on rabbits, to see if blood transfusions would alter heritable characteristics.  Darwin was enthusiastic, and corresponded extensively with Galton about the experiments. Galton was disappointed to discover that the transfusions did nothing of the sort, effectively disproving pangenesis.  Darwin's reaction to Galton's published results was defensive, and he attempted to shore up his theory by a series of ad-hoc modifications (e.g. blood was no longer necessary for transmission of the "gemmules"), and reacted sharply in print.  Galton, ever anxious to avoid controversy, published the following remarkable response, which indicates the depth of his regard for Darwin. 

Like Mendel (also born in 1822) Galton experimented with the rearing of sweet peas, though Mendel's work was unknown at the time (it would only be rediscovered in 1900).  This work and later research on the inheritance of height led to Galton's formulation of regression and correlation, and Galton's Law of Ancestral Heredity. Galton's statistical approach intrigued the mathematician Karl Pearson, who founded the biometric school with Galton and the biologist Weldon.

  Paper 1871 Experiments in pangenesis, by breeding from rabbits of a pure variety, into whose circulation blood taken from other varieties had previously been largely transfused. Annual Magazine of Natural History 7 : 372-388
Facsimile Letter 1871 Pangenesis.[Letter] Nature 4 (May 4) : 5-6
Facsimile Paper 1871 'Experiments in pangenesis, by breeding from rabbits of a pure variety, into whose circulation blood taken from other varieties had previously been largely transfused.' Proceedings of the Royal Society 19 (March 30) : 393-410
Facsimile Letter 1871 Hereditary Success. Times, The (December 9)
Facsimile Paper 1872 'On blood-relationship.' Nature 6 (June 27) : 173-6
Facsimile Paper 1872 'On blood-relationship.' Proceedings of the Royal Society 20 (June 13) : 394-402
  Paper 1873 Problem 4001: On the extinction of surnames. Educational Times 1 (April) : 17
Facsimile Paper 1873 'On the causes which operate to create scientific men.' Fortnightly Review 13 : 345-51
Facsimile Paper 1873 'Hereditary improvement.' Fraser's Magazine 7 : 116-30
Facsimile Paper 1874 On Men of Science: their Nature and Nurture. Nature 9 (March 5) : 344-5
Facsimile Paper 1874 'On men of science, their nature and their nurture.' Proceedings of the Royal Institution 7 : 227-36
Facsimile Review 1875 [Review of Heredity; a Psychological Study of its Phenomena, Laws, Causes, and Consequences, Th. Ribot] Academy, The (January 30)
Facsimile Paper 1875 'A theory of heredity.' Contemporary Review 27 : 80-95
Facsimile Paper 1875 'The history of twins, as a criterion of the relative powers of nature and nurture.' Fraser's Magazine 12 : 566-76
Facsimile Paper 1875 [Prefatory remarks to H. W. Watson, 'On the probability of the extinction of families' ] Journal of the Anthropological Institute 4 : 138-9
Facsimile Paper 1875 The history of twins, as a criterion of the relative powers of nature and nurture. Nature 13 (November 18) : 59
Facsimile Paper 1876 'Short notes on heredity etc., in twins.' Journal of the Anthropological Institute 5 : 324-9
Facsimile Paper 1876 'A theory of heredity.' Journal of the Anthropological Institute 5 : 329-48
Facsimile Paper 1876 'The history of twins, as a criterion of the relative powers of nature and nurture.' Journal of the Anthropological Institute 5 : 391-406
  Paper 1876 'Théorie de l'hérédité'. La Revue Scientifique 10 : 198-205
Facsimile Paper 1876 Twins and fertility. Live Stock Journal and Fanciers' Gazette, The 3 : 148
  Paper 1877 'Typical laws of heredity.' ('Les lois typiques de l'hérédité') La Revue Scientifique 13 : 385-93
Facsimile Paper 1877 Typical laws of heredity. Nature 15 (April 5) : 492-5, 512-4, 532-3
Facsimile Paper 1877 'Typical laws of heredity.' Proceedings of the Royal Institution 8 : 282-301
Facsimile Paper 1883 [Discussion on 'Analysis of relationships of consanguinity and affinity', A. McFarlane] Journal of the Anthropological Institute 12 : 61-2
Facsimile Paper 1883 'The American trotting-horse.' Nature 28 (May 10) : 29
Facsimile Letter 1883 'Arithmetic notation of kinship.' [Letter] Nature 28 : 435
Facsimile Letter 1884 Record of Family Faculties.' [Letter] Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 47 : 166
Facsimile Paper 1884 Extracts from Family Records' Nature 29 : 244
Facsimile Paper 1884 Prize Records of Family Faculties. Nature 30 : 82
Facsimile Letter 1884 Family records. [Letter] Times, The (January 9) : 10b
Facsimile Review 1885 'Hereditary deafness.' [Review of 'Upon the formation of a deaf variety of the human race', Alexander Bell] Nature 31 : 269-70
Facsimile Paper 1885 [Presidential address, Section H, Anthropology] Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 55 : 1206-14
Facsimile Paper 1885 'Hereditary Types' Science 6 (138, September 25) : 268-275
  Paper 1886 'Chance and its bearing in heredity.' Birmingham Daily Post (December 7)
Facsimile Paper 1886 'Regression towards mediocrity in hereditary stature.' Journal of the Anthropological Institute 15 : 246-63
Facsimile Paper 1886 The origin of varieties. Nature 34 (August 26) : 395-6
Facsimile Letter 1886 'Hereditary stature.' [Letter offering corrections] Nature 33 : 317,
Facsimile Paper 1886 'Family-likeness in eye-colour.' Nature 34 (June 10) : 137
Facsimile Paper 1886 Hereditary Stature. [Extracts from Presidential address to the Anthropological Institute.] Nature 33 (January 28) : 295-8
Facsimile Paper 1886 'Family likeness in stature.' Proceedings of the Royal Society 40 (January 21) : 42-63
Facsimile Paper 1886 Family-likeness in eye-colour. Proceedings of the Royal Society 40 (May 27) : 402-16
Facsimile Paper 1887 'Good and bad temper in English families.' Fortnightly Review 42 : 21-30
Facsimile Paper 1887 [On American Family Peculiarities in the Eighteenth Century, J. Boucher] Journal of the Anthropological Institute 16 : 98-9
Facsimile Paper 1887 'Pedigree moth-breeding as a means of verifying certain important constants in the general theory of heredity.' Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (1, April) : 19-34
Facsimile Paper 1889 [Discussion on 'On a method of investigating the development of institutions applied to laws of marriage and descent', E. Tylor] Journal of the Anthropological Institute 18 : 270
Facsimile Paper 1889 'Note on Australian marriage systems.' Journal of the Anthropological Institute 18 : 70-2
Facsimile Paper 1889 'Human Variety' Nature 39 : 296-7
Facsimile Paper 1889 'Feasible experiments on the possibility of transmitting acquired habits by means of inheritance.' Nature 40 : 610
Facsimile Paper 1889 'Feasible experiments on the possibility of transmitting acquired habits by means of inheritance.' Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 59 : 620-1
Facsimile Letter 1894 'Acquired characters.' [Letter] Nature 51 : 56
Facsimile Paper 1895 'Questions bearing on specific stability.' Nature 51 : 570-1
Facsimile Paper 1896 'Three generations of lunatic cats.' Spectator (April 11)
Facsimile Paper 1897 'Retrograde selection.' Gardeners' Chronicle (May 15)
Facsimile Paper 1897 'A new law of heredity.' Nature 56 : 235-7
Facsimile Paper 1897 'Hereditary colour in horses.' Nature 56 : 598-9
Facsimile Paper 1897 'Rate of racial change that accompanies different degrees of severity in selection.' Nature 55 : 605-6
Facsimile Review 1897 'Relation between individual and racial variability.' [Unsigned review of 'A measure of variability and the relation of individual variation to specific differences', E. T. Brewster] Nature 57 : 16-7
Facsimile Paper 1897 'The average contribution of each several ancestor to the total heritage of the offspring.' Proceedings of the Royal Society 61 (June 3) : 401-13
Facsimile Paper 1897 'An examination into the registered speeds of American trotting horses, with remarks on their value as hereditary data.' Proceedings of the Royal Society 62 (December 16) : 310-5
Facsimile Paper 1898 An Examination into the Relative Speeds of American Trotting horses.' Nature 58 : 333-334
Facsimile Letter 1898 'A diagram of heredity.' [Letter in] Nature 57 : 292
Facsimile Paper 1898 A diagram of heredity' Nature 57 : 292
Facsimile Letter 1898 'The distribution of prepotency.' [Letter] Nature 58 : 246-7
Facsimile Letter 1899 'A measure of the intensity of hereditary transmission.' [Letter] Nature 60 : 29
Facsimile Paper 1899 'Pedigree stock records.' Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 69 : 424-9
Facsimile Paper 1901 'On the probability that the son of a very highly-gifted father will be no less gifted.' Nature 65 : 79
Facsimile Paper 1903 'Pedigrees, based on fraternal unities.' Nature 67 : 586-7
Facsimile Paper 1904 'Average number of kinsfolk in each degree.' Nature 70 : 529
Facsimile Paper 1904 'Distribution of successes and of natural ability among the kinsfolk of Fellows of the Royal Society.' Nature 70 : 354-6
Facsimile Paper 1904 Follow-up to 'Average number of kinsfolk in each degree.' Nature : 626
Facsimile Paper 1904 'Nomenclature and tables of kinship.' Nature 69 : 294-5
Facsimile Letter 1905 Follow up to 'Average number of kinsfolk in each degree.' Nature 71 : 248
Facsimile Letter 1905 'Nomenclature of kinship--its extension.' [Letter] Nature 73 : 150-1
Facsimile Letter 1910 Primogeniture and Heredity. Times, The (March 21) : 13e
Facsimile Letter 1910 'Alcoholism and offspring.' [Letter] Times, The (June 3)
Facsimile Letter 1910 'Heredity and tradition.' [Letter in] Times, The (May 31) : 13c