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Definition of «Eugenics»

Eugenics: Literally, meaning normal genes, eugenics aims to improve the genetic constitution of the human species by selective breeding. The use of Albert Einstein's sperm to conceive a child (by artificial insemination) would represent an attempt at positive eugenics. The Nazis notoriously engaged in negative eugenics by genocide.

The word "eugenics" was coined by Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) to denote scientific endeavors to increase the proportion of persons with better than average genetic endowment through selective mating of marriage partners.

The practice of eugenics was first legally mandated in the United States in the state of Indiana, resulting in the forcible sterilization, incarceration, and occasionally euthanasia of the mentally or physically handicapped, the mentally ill, and ethnic minorities (particularly people of mixed racial heritage), and the adopting out of their children to non-disabled, Caucasian parents. Similar programs spread widely in the early part of the twentieth century, and still exist in some parts of the world. It is important to note that no experiment in eugenics has ever been shown to result in measurable improvements in human health. In fact, in the best known attempt at positive eugenics, the Nazi "Lebensborn" program, there was a higher-than- normal level of birth defects among the resulting offspring.

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