SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, Russian biologist, born in Karlovka, Poltava Oblast, Ukraine, on September 29, 1898. Lysenko graduated from the Kiev Institute of Agriculture in 1925 and became concerned with the cultivation of new varieties of plants. Lysenko believed that acquired characteristics could be inherited through environmental control and denounced those geneticists (notably Mendel) who had maintained that such characteristics were innate. His heretic ideas enjoyed Stalin's patronage & thus permeated Soviet agricultural policy, with disastrous consequences. Stalin's death in 1953 heralded his decline & ultimate dismissal in 1964.
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