Dobzhansky, Theodosius

Dobzhansky, Theodosius

(dôbzhän`skē), 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).

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.

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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Dobzhansky, Theodosius, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.
Dobzhansky, Theodosius, (1983), "Comentarios preliminares", en Ayala y Dobzhansky, pp.