- Lysenko , Trofim Denisovich
- (1898–1976) Ukrainian agriculturalistA peasant's son from Karlovka (now in Ukraine), Lysenko began work at the Kirovabad Experimental Station in 1925, after completing his studies at the Kiev Agricultural Institute. In 1929 he became a senior specialist in the physiology department at the Institute of Selection and Genetics in Odessa and in the same year he first claimed success using vernalized grain on his father's farm. Vernalization is the cold treatment of soaked grains and it promotes flowering in spring-sown plants that might otherwise take two years to flower. Lysenko was later credited with inventing the method, although it had long been an established agricultural practice.Lysenko claimed that the effects of vernalization could be inherited and so the treatment need not be repeated each year. This reversion to a belief in the inheritance of acquired characteristics was the hallmark of his career, and he is remembered for his single-minded application of this belief to Soviet biology. The validity of the chromosome theory of inheritance had been generally accepted in the West, especially since the publication of T.H. Morgan's results. Naturally, many Soviet scientists also followed the Mendel–Morgan theory of heredity, notably Nikolai Vavilov, who was president of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences and head of the Institute of Plant Protection. Vavilov was publicly discredited by Lysenko and in 1940 exiled to Siberia, Lysenko taking over his scientific posts. Other dissenting scientists were brought into line at the genetics debate held at the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1948. At this meeting Lysenko announced that he had the backing of the central committee of the communist party, and a motion was passed directing all textbooks and courses to be changed in accordance with his views. This dictatorial state of affairs continued until 1964, and Lysenko was finally ousted from his powerful position in 1965.Soviet science suffered immeasurably from Lysenko's refusal to acknowledge “alien foreign bourgeois biology” or the existence of the gene. His theories complemented Stalinist party dogma very conveniently and it is to this rather than any great scientific ability that his rise to prominence may be attributed.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.