7.1 The Origins of Fertilization Research

  • Early History of Fertilization
  • Anton von Leeuwenhoek and His Perception of Spermatozoa – Adapted from an article by E. G. Ruestow, J. History of Biology 16: 185-224. Leeuwenhoek's ideas concerning sperm and their possible roles in fertilization underwent considerable development and were influenced by numerous intellectual and religious currents.
  • Homunculus – Clara Pinto-Correia Historiographic Misunderstandings of Preformationist Terminology
    Calling something a "homunculus" is not a neutral act. C. Pinto-Correia analyzes the history of the "homunculus" and claims the homunculus is more a product of the 1930s than a model from the 1780s.
  • The Reemergence of Sex – John Farley, 1982 Chapter 6 of Gametes and Spores: Ideas About Sexual Reproduction 1750-1914
  • Gametes and Spores – John Farley, 1982 Ideas About Sexual Reproduction 1750-1914
    Here, historian John Farley gives a lively account of the Woods Hole fertilization physiologists in the early 1900s.
  • The Mechanism of Fertilization – F. R. Lillie, 1913 Science 38 (1913): 524-528.
    In this classic paper, Lillie predicts the nature of cell surface receptors and their activation by the binding of ligands on their extracellular domains.
  • On the Nature of the Process of Fertilization – Jacques Loeb, 1899 and the Artificial Production of Normal Larvae (Plutei) from the Unfertilized Eggs of the Sea Urchin
    In this paper, Loeb emphasizes the roles of ions in initiating early development.
  • The Invention of Artificial Parthenogenesis – Philip J. Pauly, 1987 Chapter 5 in Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology, Oxford University Press, NY. Pp. 93-117.
    Jacques Loeb's research on fertilization was part of a larger agenda that he had for making biology a more physical discipline. Philip Pauley documents the larger context for Loeb's research.