Trofim Lysenko

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich


Born Sept. 17 (29), 1898, in the village of Karlovka (the present-day city of Karlovka), Poltava Oblast, Ukrainian SSR; died Nov. 20, 1976. Soviet biologist and agronomist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN SSSR; 1939), the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1934), and the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1935). Hero of Socialist Labor (1945).

Lysenko graduated from the Kiev Agricultural Institute in 1925. From 1922 to 1925 he was a senior specialist at the Belaia Tserkov’ Breeding Station, and from 1925 to 1929, head of the legumes breeding division of the Giandzha Breeding Station. He was a senior specialist in the physiology division of the All-Union Research Institute of Selection and Genetics in Odessa from 1929 to 1934 and scientific director and director of the institute from 1934 to 1938. From 1940 to 1965 he was director of the Institute of Genetics of the AN SSSR. In 1938 he became scientific director and, in 1966, director of the laboratory of the Gorky Leninskie Experimental Research Station of the AN SSSR (near Moscow). He was president of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences from 1938 to 1956 and from 1961 to 1962.

Lysenko developed a theory of the phasic development of plants and a method of directing a change from hereditarily fixed winter grain varieties into hereditarily fixed spring varieties, and vice versa. He proposed a number of farming techniques (vernalization, cotton chopping, summer planting of potatoes). A number of Lysenko’s theories and proposals failed to be experimentally confirmed or extensively applied. Lysenko was a deputy to the first through sixth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR, several Orders of Lenin, and various medals.


Izbr. soch., vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One has to look only to the tragic episode in the former Soviet Union, when evolutionary genetics were rejected by the Communist Party in favor of the more ideologically compatible and anti-intellectual populist ideas of Trofim Lysenko. The biological sciences in Russia today still bear the scars of that brutal scientific repression.
The Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko's Marxist genetics, which rejected the principle of heredity for doctrinal reasons, would seem to falsify that notion.
Mendel and the whole theory of genetic inheritance fell afoul of the pseudoscientific theories of Trofim Lysenko, the minister of Soviet agriculture who had gained the backing of the scientifically naive Soviet bureaucracy.
Marty Jezer, writing for the online Common Dreams News Center, notes that "One has to go back to the Stalinist Era of the Soviet Union to find such a display of political arrogance and ignorance of science." That's when Trofim Lysenko told Josef Stalin that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and Gregor Mendel's theory of heredity were wrongheaded "bourgeois science" not suited to a communist state.
Yet seeing that behavior (study time) alters brain-test outcome, and then concluding as The Bell Curve does that brain performance is mainly genetic, is an inverted form of the logic that Stalin's favorite scientist, Trofim Lysenko, employed to contend that genetic characteristics are acquired during a person's life.
After being denounced by a former student, Stalin's protege Trofim Lysenko, Vavilov died in prison in 1943.