Standard Article

Eugenics: Historical

  1. Susan Connell

Published Online: 19 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001903



How to Cite

Connell, S. 2001. Eugenics: Historical. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2001


Eugenics is the study of the method of improving the quality of the human race, especially by selective breeding. First developed in the nineteenth century, the theory was put into practice in the eugenics policies of the UK, USA and Germany in the twentieth century. Renewed interest in eugenics has been occasioned by human genome data identification and collection.


  • eugenics;
  • negative eugenics;
  • positive eugenics;
  • sterilization laws