Nikolai Koltsov

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Kol’tsov, Nikolai Konstantinovich

 

Born July 3 (15), 1872, in Moscow; died Dec. 2, 1940, in Leningrad (buried in Moscow). Soviet biologist; founder of experimental biology in Russia and the USSR. Corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1915), academician of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1929).

Kol’tsov graduated from Moscow University in 1894. He was sent on missions to marine zoological stations in Naples, Villafranca (1899), and Roscoff and to the biological laboratories of several European universities. In 1899 he became an assistant professor at Moscow University. In 1903 he became a professor with the Advanced Courses for Women. In 1908 he became a professor at Shaniavskii University.

From 1917 to 1938, Kol’tsov was head of the Institute of Experimental Biology, which he had organized. After conducting certain fundamental research in the comparative anatomy of vertebrates, he turned his attention principally to experimental cytology, physicochemical biology, and genetics. He demonstrated, mainly using the spermatozoa of decapods, the formative importance of the cellular “skeleton” (Kol’tsov’s principle), the effects of ionic series on the reactions of contractile and pigment cells, and the effects of physicochemical influences on activating the development of unfertilized egg cells.

In 1928, Kol’tsov became the first to develop a hypothesis of the molecular structure and template-type reproduction of chromosomes (”hereditary molecules”). In this he anticipated the most important theoretical propositions of contemporary molecular biology and genetics. Kol’tsov inspired the Moscow schools of experimental zoologists, cytologists, and geneticists (S. S. Chetverikov, A. S. Serebrovskii, M. M. Zavadovskii, G. V. Epshtein, and S. L. Frolova).

WORKS

Organizatsiia kletki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.

REFERENCES

Astaurov, B. L. “Pamiati Nikolaia Konstantinovicha Kol’tsova.” Priroda, 1941, no. 5. Pages 109–17.
Astaurov, B. L. “Dve vekhi v razvitii geneticheskikh predstavlenii.” Bull Moskovskogo obshchestva ispytateleiprirody, 1965, vol. 70, no. 4. Pages 25–32.
Polynin, V. Prorok v svoem otechestve. Moscow, 1969.
Rokitskii, P. F. “Rol’ N. K. Kol’tsova v razvitii obshchei i eksperimental’noi biologii v nashei strane.” Priroda, 1972, no. 7. Pages 24–81.
Rokitskii, P. F. “Nauchnye vozzreniia N. K. Kol’tsova (K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia).” Voprosy filosofii, 1972, no. 7. Pages 90–101.

B. L. ASTAUROV