Summary: The attempt to improve the PHENOTYPES of future generations of the human population by fostering the reproduction of those with favorable phenotypes and GENOTYPES and hampering or preventing BREEDING by those with "undesirable" phenotypes and genotypes. The concept is largely discredited. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)

Top Publications

  1. Brune M. On human self-domestication, psychiatry, and eugenics. Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2007;2:21 pubmed
  2. Richards M. Artificial insemination and eugenics: celibate motherhood, eutelegenesis and germinal choice. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2008;39:211-21 pubmed publisher
    ..No state has ever contemplated using AID as a social policy. ..
  3. Galton D. Eugenics: some lessons from the past. Reprod Biomed Online. 2005;10 Suppl 1:133-6 pubmed
    b>Eugenics was first debated by the ancient Greeks, particularly Plato and Aristotle, developed in the nineteenth century by Francis Galton and Charles Darwin, and then abused in the twentieth century by right-wing politicians...
  4. Holm S, Harris J. Free speech, democracy, and eugenics. J Med Ethics. 2004;30:519 pubmed
  5. Wittmann E. To what extent were ideas and beliefs about eugenics held in Nazi Germany shared in Britain and the United States prior to the second world war?. Vesalius. 2004;10:16-9 pubmed
    The term eugenics was first coined by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, in 1883...
  6. Roelcke V. [Mentalities and sterilization laws in Europe during the 1930s. Eugenics, genetics, and politics in a historic context]. Nervenarzt. 2002;73:1019-30 pubmed
    ..b>Eugenics and the practice of sterilisation are constitutively linked to scientific justifications, just as - ..
  7. Hemminki E, Rasimus A, Forssas E. Sterilization in Finland: from eugenics to contraception. Soc Sci Med. 1997;45:1875-84 pubmed
    ..The extreme gender ratio suggests a need for promoting male sterilizations, and women's expressed regrets suggest consideration of a higher age limit. ..
  8. Gillott J. Screening for disability: a eugenic pursuit?. J Med Ethics. 2001;27 Suppl 2:ii21-3 pubmed
  9. Reich W. The care-based ethic of Nazi medicine and the moral importance of what we care about. Am J Bioeth. 2001;1:64-74 pubmed
    ..It argues that we should be attentive to the meaning and requirements of the care revealed in this debate, the ancient Greek idea of care as a concerned moral option. ..

More Information


  1. Sihn K. Eugenics discourse and racial improvement in Republican China (1911-1949). Uisahak. 2010;19:459-85 pubmed
    This paper aimed to examine the advent of eugenics and its characteristics in republican China...
  2. Edwards R. Chasing Aleck: the story of a dorm. Public Hist. 2007;29:87-104 pubmed
    ..Indeed, the more I thought about it, the better this question got. Why did the school name a dormin after him? Unfortunately, I hadn't the foggiest idea. With apologies to that student, I offer this article as a belated answer. ..
  3. Alvare H. Catholic teaching and the law concerning the new reproductive technologies. Fordham Urban Law J. 2002;30:107-34 pubmed
  4. Jiménez Alonso B. Eugenics, sexual pedagogy and social change: constructing the responsible subject of governmentality in the Spanish Second Republic. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2008;39:247-54 pubmed publisher
    This study focuses on eugenics in Spain, and more specifically on the 'official' eugenics whose platform was the Primeras Jornadas Eugénicas Españolas (First Spanish Eugenic Days, FSED)...
  5. Benz W. [Racism as ideology and practice of domination (1933-1945)]. Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr. 2009;58:491-503 pubmed
    ..Out of this conglomerate emerged the idea of racial purity, which found specific expression in eugenics. "Selection" and "eradication" were leading concepts of this movement and at the same time ..
  6. Elger B, Harding T. Huntington's disease: do future physicians and lawyers think eugenically?. Clin Genet. 2003;64:327-38 pubmed
    ..The objective of this study was to identify future lawyers' and physicians' views on eugenics and genetic testing for HD...
  7. Breheny M, Stephens C. Youth or disadvantage? The construction of teenage mothers in medical journals. Cult Health Sex. 2010;12:307-22 pubmed publisher
    ..These understandings are reflected in a 'Eugenics' discourse, which engages metaphors of parenting as a biological priority and highlights the unsuitability of ..
  8. Fernández Riquelme S. [Towards social eugenics. Ideology and bioethics in the construction of the social policy]. Cuad Bioet. 2009;20:39-50 pubmed
    The social eugenics is the real face of the biomedical application of an ideological paradigm, self-styled like "progressive", that claims the radical transformation of the western society from laicist and utilitarians positions...
  9. Bryant T. Sexological deliberation and social engineering: Albert Moll and the sterilisation debate in late imperial and Weimar Germany. Med Hist. 2012;56:237-54 pubmed
  10. Berthiau D. Law, bioethics and practice in France: forging a new legislative pact. Med Health Care Philos. 2013;16:105-13 pubmed publisher
    ..However, a new legislative approach should be adopted which would a positive presumption in favor of patients' requests. ..
  11. Elster J. Procreative beneficence: cui bono?. Bioethics. 2011;25:482-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Indeed, PB itself will in some cases be self-effacing in favour of SPB. ..
  12. Burke C, Castaneda C. The public and private history of eugenics: an introduction. Public Hist. 2007;29:5-17 pubmed
    Inspired by our experience addressing the legacy of eugenics at California State University, Sacramento, this special issue presents an array of articles representative of diverse approaches to the historical investigation of eugenics...
  13. Shevell M. "Eugenics" by another name?. Can J Neurol Sci. 2007;34:494-5 pubmed
  14. Zeidman L. Neuroscience in Nazi Europe part I: eugenics, human experimentation, and mass murder. Can J Neurol Sci. 2011;38:696-703 pubmed
    ..Only by understanding the actions of neuroscientists during this dark period can we learn from the slippery slope down which they traveled, and prevent history from repeating itself. ..
  15. Rideau Y, Rideau F. Muscular dystrophy, incurability, eugenics. Acta Myol. 2007;26:22-32 pubmed
    ..On the contrary, the dogma of incurability may lead to dramatic individual consequences which should be stressed, from a medical viewpoint, on account of the unacceptable risks of social injustice or eugenics that this would imply.
  16. Helbig E. [Eugenics in Switzerland]. Krankenpfl Soins Infirm. 2006;99:2 pubmed
  17. Cottebrune A. [Franz Josef Kallmann (1897-1965) and the transfer of psychiatric-genetic scientific concepts from national socialist Germany to the U.S.A]. Medizinhist J. 2009;44:296-324 pubmed
    ..The fact that it took him a long time to establish the field of eugenics in the U.S.A...
  18. Greenspan S. A sex police for adults with "mental retardation"? Comment on Spiecker and Steutel. J Moral Educ. 2002;31:171-9 pubmed
    ..After a review of historical, empirical and practical considerations, an ethical analysis is undertaken which concludes that Spiecker and Steutel's arguments are deeply flawed and their proposed policy morally objectionable. ..
  19. Lecellier C. [The democratic side of science-fiction]. Med Sci (Paris). 2011;27:433-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Here, we contend that science fiction has major assets that could face this challenge and facilitate the dialogue between sciences and society. ..
  20. McCabe L, McCabe E. Down syndrome: coercion and eugenics. Genet Med. 2011;13:708-10 pubmed publisher
    ..coercion to limit reproductive choice, and we present examples of governmental rhetoric and policies condoning eugenics and commercial policies meeting criteria established by experts for eugenics...
  21. Prusak B. Rethinking "Liberal eugenics": reflections and questions on Habermas on bioethics. Hastings Cent Rep. 2005;35:31-42 pubmed
  22. Fangerau H. ["Baur-Fischer-Lenz" in 1921-1940 critical book reviews: a quantitative study of contemporary reception of racial eugenics theories]. Medizinhist J. 2003;38:57-81 pubmed
    ..1941 their work went through 5 editions and became the standard textbook on human heredity and racial hygiene (eugenics) in Germany...
  23. Eraso Y. Biotypology, endocrinology, and sterilization: the practice of eugenics in the treatment of Argentinian women during the 1930s. Bull Hist Med. 2007;81:793-822 pubmed
    ..article looks at medical approaches to women's fertility in Argentina in the 1930s and explores the ways in which eugenics encouraged the reproduction of the fit and attempted to avoid the reproduction of the unfit...
  24. Mota A, Schraiber L. [Institutionalization of Public Health Care in Sao Paulo between 1930 and 1940]. Rev Saude Publica. 2013;47:839-45 pubmed
    ..compared with the existing literature, thereby leading to identification of new indices relating to the issue of eugenics and the presence of physicians' religious beliefs as a social movement...
  25. Raz A. Disability rights, prenatal diagnosis and eugenics: a cross-cultural view. J Genet Couns. 2005;14:183-7 pubmed
  26. Turnbull D. Genetic counselling: ethical mediation of eugenic futures?. Futures. 2000;32:853-65 pubmed
    ..An alternative future in which public communication, not private medical decisions, is given as the primary ethical focus. ..
  27. Lüthi U. [The future needs background information]. Krankenpfl Soins Infirm. 2006;99:15-7 pubmed
  28. Brodwin P. Faultlines in "bioscience ethics": lessons from the Human Genome Diversity Project. Am J Bioeth. 2002;2:56-7 pubmed
  29. Hafstein V. Spectacular reproduction: Ron's Angels and mechanical reproduction in the age of ART (assisted reproductive technology). J Med Humanit. 2007;28:3-17 pubmed
    ..The result is not only a disconcerting aestheticization and commodification of biological reproduction, but also the biological reproduction of a particular aesthetic and moral code--a generation of reality by model. ..
  30. Jensen D. A Kantian argument against comparatively advantageous genetic modification. J Med Ethics. 2011;37:479-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Many ordinary cases of competitive advantage that we think of as unjust, in fact, can be explained by my argument. ..
  31. Smith J, Wehmeyer M. Who was Deborah Kallikak?. Intellect Dev Disabil. 2012;50:169-78 pubmed publisher
    ..This article reviews the story of Deborah Kallikak, including her true identity, and provides evidence that Goddard's treatise was incorrect. ..
  32. Seidel R. [Werner Leibbrand as psychiatric opponent of National Socialism]. Nervenarzt. 2013;84:1043, 1046-8 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition to a biographical review, Leibbrand's resolute although still undisputed attitude as ethical expert in the trials will be roughly outlined. ..
  33. Benson J. Hypermedicalization in White Noise. J Med Humanit. 2015;36:199-215 pubmed publisher
    ..Through the manipulation of language and medical overreach the U.S., exemplified in the novel White Noise, has become a hypermedicalized society where the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath has eroded. ..
  34. Käärik U. [Lakartidningen 80 years ago. Eugenics the only way]. Lakartidningen. 2004;101:1174 pubmed
  35. Tang K. Ethical dimensions of yousheng (healthy birth or eugenics): the perspective of a Chinese ethicist. N Z Bioeth J. 2002;3:9-14 pubmed
    Yousheng meaning eugenics or healthy-birth and youyu meaning good-upbringing are necessary requirements for the development of human beings and therefore of humankind generally. There are enormous ethical issues involved in eugenics...
  36. Habermas J. A sketch of L'avenir de la nature humaine. APA Newsl Philos Med. 2003;3:155-7 pubmed
  37. Ajavon F. [Three historical examples of eugenics before Galton (1883): Plato, Soranus and Vandermonde (part II)]. Vesalius. 2006;12:25-9 pubmed
    The first part of this paper explored the origins of the idea of Eugenics in Plato's work in the 4th Century BC...
  38. Koch T. The difference that difference makes: bioethics and the challenge of "disability". J Med Philos. 2004;29:697-716 pubmed
    Two rival paradigms permeate bioethics. One generally favors eugenics, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other methods for those with severely restricting physical and cognitive attributes...
  39. Brosco J, Feudtner C. Growth attenuation: a diminutive solution to a daunting problem. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:1077-8 pubmed
  40. Simpson M. Developmental concept of idiocy. Intellect Dev Disabil. 2007;45:23-32 pubmed
    ..Although not arguing for any specific changes to current definitions, I do argue that theoretical options should be kept open and that dominant ones should be questioned. ..
  41. Savulescu J. In defence of Procreative Beneficence. J Med Ethics. 2007;33:284-8 pubmed
  42. Ballesteros Llompart J. [Beyond eugenics: posthumanism as Homo patiens denials]. Cuad Bioet. 2012;23:15-23 pubmed
  43. Gawin M. The sex reform movement and eugenics in interwar Poland. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2008;39:181-6 pubmed publisher
    ..a liberal group of sex reformers, consisting of writers and literary critics, and physicians from the Polish Eugenics Society in interwar Poland...
  44. Fait S. An anthropological and historical analysis of the ethos and practice of biomedical professionals in postmodern democracies. Not Polit. 2004;20:13-32 pubmed
  45. Schreiber J, Lohmeier J. [National socialism health policy and the Aachen region reflected in the "West German Observer"]. Sudhoffs Arch. 2010;94:214-42 pubmed
    ..It seems to be that the emphasis was deliberately not laid on the matter "medicine" especially eugenics--which was one of the main components of the Nazi ideology--because the regime didn't want it to become a public ..
  46. Louçã F. Emancipation through interaction--how eugenics and statistics converged and diverged. J Hist Biol. 2009;42:649-84 pubmed
    The paper discusses the scope and influence of eugenics in defining the scientific programme of statistics and the impact of the evolution of biology on social scientists...
  47. Barounis C. "Undisturbed by colors": photorealism and narrative bioethics in the poetry of William Carlos Williams. J Med Humanit. 2009;30:43-59 pubmed publisher
    ..Considering this shift alongside of the historical connection between photography and eugenics raises questions about Williams' status as a physician during an era when medical discourse was dominated by ..
  48. Greely H. Legal, ethical, and social issues in human genome research. Annu Rev Anthropol. 1998;27:473-502 pubmed
    ..These effects can be grouped in six broad categories: identity, prediction, history, manipulation, ownership and control, and destiny. ..
  49. Berghs M, Dierckx de Casterle B, Gastmans C. Nursing, obedience, and complicity with eugenics: a contextual interpretation of nursing morality at the turn of the twentieth century. J Med Ethics. 2006;32:117-22 pubmed
    ..The authors aim to focus on how context shapes and limits morality and agency in nurses and contributes to a better understanding of debates in nursing ethics both in the past and present. ..
  50. Sleeboom M. The Harvard case of Xu Xiping: exploitation of the people, scientific advance, or genetic theft?. New Genet Soc. 2005;24:57-78 pubmed
    ..the role of genomics and genetic sampling in China, the way it is related to population policies (the new eugenics), the national importance of genetic materials and the conflicts it led to between the Chinese government and ..
  51. Snelders S. The plot against cancer: heredity and cancer in German and Dutch medicine, 1933-1945. Gesnerus. 2008;65:42-55 pubmed
    ..The German occupation offered opportunities to develop these elements (concepts, institutions, personnel). This development was blocked because of the political radicalisation during the war and the German defeat. ..
  52. Nau J. [France and the neo-eugenics]. Rev Med Suisse. 2007;3:500 pubmed
  53. Brown S. Hitler's bible: an analysis of the relationship between American and German eugenics in pre-war Nazi Germany. Vesalius. 2009;15:26-31 pubmed
    Throughout the last century the wellbeing of those with disability has been threatened by the idea of eugenics. The most notable and extreme example of this could be considered to have been carried out during World WarTwo, within Nazi ..