Sunderland, Mary E.
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Charles Manning Child designed an experimental test, the susceptibility assay, to measure the effects of different toxins on developmental processes. The susceptibility assay measured an organism s vulnerability to death when it was submerged in a noxious solution. The assay involved immersing an organism in a solution that contained a depressant or inhibitory substance, such as alcohol, and then measuring the responses of the organism. Child interpreted these measurements as revealing information about the relative levels of metabolic activity within the organism. Child predicted an organism's susceptibility to death should vary directly with its metabolic rate. An organism with a high metabolic rate would be expected to die more quickly in a noxious chemical solution than an organism with a lower metabolic rate: the higher the rate, the more quickly death should ensue. He also predicted young organisms should have higher metabolic rates than older organism, since children were known to metabolize drugs more quickly than adults.