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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   25 June 1870

42 Rutland Gate SW

June 25— 1870

My dear Darwin

A curious and, it may be, very interesting result delays my tranfusion experiments.1 It is that 2 &, I think all 3, of the does that had been coupled with the largely transfused bucks, proved sterile! Of course the sterility may be due to constitutional shock or other minor matters but, it suggests the idea that the reproductive elements are in that position of the blood which I did not transfuse;—to wit, the fibrine.2 In my earlier experiments, the blood was only partially de-fibrinised,—hence I was able to get a white leg;—but in these later ones it was wholly de-fibrinised. It seems reasonable that the part of the blood which does most in the reparation of injuries, should also be the most rich in the reproductive elements.

Of course I go on with the experiments & modifications of proceedure. Thus, I hope to succeed in making the ears of two young rabbits grow together & to mix their circulations by breaking adjacent veins into one.3

I wish I had more to tell you. I have transfused into 32 rabbits, in 6 case twice over—Experimented in 6, and killed 43 others to get at their blood;—making a total of 81 killed & wounded, animals—poor things.

Very sincerely yours | Francis Galton


See Galton 1871, pp. 402–3.
On Galton’s procedure for establishing cross-circulation between rabbits (eliminating the need to defibrinise the blood), see Galton 1871, p. 397.


Galton, Francis. 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. [Read 30 March 1871.] Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 19 (1870–1): 393–410.


Two, perhaps all three, doe [rabbits] are sterile after the transfusions; will try another method.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: A21–2
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7245,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18