Dobzhansky, Theodosius

Dobzhansky, Theodosius

Dobzhansky, Theodosius (dôbzhänˈskē), 1900–1975, American geneticist, b. Russia, grad. Univ. of Kiev, 1921. He emigrated to the United States in 1927 and was naturalized in 1937. Dobzhansky taught at the California Institute of Technology (1930–40) and was professor of zoology at Columbia (1940–62), leaving to become associated with the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller Univ.). He conducted much research with Drosophila and is known for his basic work in genetics. His writings are of considerable significance and include Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937, 3d ed. 1951), a challenging summation of contemporary knowledge of genetics; Evolution, Genetics, and Man (1955); and Mankind Evolving: The Evolution of the Human Species (1962), which with great wisdom deals with cultural as well as biological evolution.


See also Genetics of the Evolution Process (1970) and Genetic Diversity and Human Equality (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dobzhansky, Theodosius


(Feodosii Grigor’evich Dobrzhanskii). Born Jan. 12 (25), 1900, in Nemirov, in what is now the Ukrainian SSR; died Dec. 19, 1975, in Davis, Calif. American geneticist. Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1941) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dobzhansky graduated from the University of Kiev in 1921. He taught at Leningrad University from 1924 until 1927, when he emigrated to the United States. From 1929 to 1940 he taught at the California Institute of Technology, becoming a professor of genetics in 1936. From 1940 to 1962 he was a professor of zoology at Columbia University in New York, and from 1962 to 1970 he was a professor at Rockefeller University in New York. He became a professor of genetics at the University of California at Davis in 1971.

Dobzhansky was one of the founders of experimental population genetics and the author of the synthetic theory of evolution. He made a major contribution to the study of isolating mechanisms of evolution. Dobzhansky was a fellow of the Royal Society of London and other foreign academies of sciences.


Genetics and the Origin of Species, 3rd ed. New York, 1951.
Heredity and the Nature of Man. London, 1965.
Genetics of the Evolutionary Process. New York–London, 1970.
Evolution. San Francisco, 1977. (With other authors.)


Ayala, F. J. ‘Theodosius Dobzhansky: The Man and the Scientist.” Annual Review of Genetics, 1976, vol. 10, pp. 1–6.
Beardmore, J. A. “Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1900–1975.” Heredity, 1976, vol. 37, no. 1.
Ehrman, L., and B. Wallace. “Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky.” Nature, 1976, vol. 260, no. 5,547, p. 179.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Dobzhansky, Theodosius (Grigorievich)

(1900–75) geneticist; born in Nemirov, Ukraine. He taught zoology in Russia, and emigrated to the U.S.A. (1927) because of Stalinist repression of genetic science. He was a professor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology (1928–40), where he published his seminal book, Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937). He relocated to Columbia University (1940–62), joined Rockefeller University (1962–71), then moved to the University of California: Davis (1971–75). He demonstrated that the genetic variability in a population is large, including many potentially lethal genes that nevertheless confer versatility when the population is exposed to environmental change. A prolific and internationally acclaimed writer, his work on population evolution in both fruit flies and humans gave the experimental evidence that linked Darwinian theory with Mendel's law of heredity.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Dobzhansky, Theodosius. "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution." The American Biology Teacher 35 (March 1973): 125-129.
Dobzhansky, Theodosius. "Man and Natural Selection." Man In Adaptation: The Biosocial Background.
Dobzhansky, Theodosius, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution." American Biology Teacher 35 (March 1973): 125-129.