Nikolai Vavilov, Soviet botanist

Nikolai Vavilov, Soviet botanist

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Credit: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Nikolai Vavilov (1887-1943), Soviet botanist and geneticist. In 1920, Vavilov became director of the All Union Institute of Plant Industry. He devoted his life to expeditions to gather plants from around the world. By 1940 Vavilov had a collection of over 250,000 plants, which he used to selectively breed improved crop species. His jealous rival, Lysenko, arranged for Vavilov to be arrested on trumped-up charges. Initially sentenced to death, Vavilov died from hunger in a labour camp.

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