SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, Russian biologist (1898-1976). Born in Karlovka, Ukraine, 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 or manipulated by environmental control and denounced those geneticists (notably Mendel) who had maintained that such characteristics were innate. His heretical ideas enjoyed Stalin's patronage and thus permeated Soviet agricultural policy, with disastrous consequences. Stalin's death in 1953 heralded his decline and ultimate dismissal in 1964.
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