The Lysenko Affair by David Joravsky download in ePub, pdf, iPad
He did not hesitate to use the language of class struggle, depicting himself as a representative of proletarian science and the geneticists as representatives of bourgeois science. Soviet Central Committee support of Lysenko was critical.
He was, in turn, supported by the Soviet propaganda machine, which overstated his successes and omitted mention of his failures. Political oppression caused tension within the state but also promoted the flourishing of science. During the s and s, scientists were routinely executed, imprisoned, or exiled. Before the s, the Soviet Union had a strong genetics community. To get his data he looked at the amount of growth, how many days went by, and the temperature on those days.
Lysenko held that characteristics acquired through exposure to environmental factors could be inherited by subsequent generations. Lysenko's system of crop rotation eventually led to soil depletion that required years of replenishment with mineral fertilizers. Lysenko eventually became the director of Genetics for the Academy of Sciences, which gave him even more control over genetics. Lysenko ruled virtually supreme in Soviet science, and his influence extended beyond agriculture to all areas of science. Scientists who refused to renounce genetics found themselves at the mercy of the secret police.
By treating wheat seeds with moisture as well as cold, Lysenko induced them to bear a crop when planted in spring. He attempted to correlate the time and the amount of heat required by a particular plant to go through various phases of development.
Lysenko's first brush with fame came with a article in Pravda that described his experiments with planting leguminous crops to enrich fields. It was known that Stalin clearly expressed his positive attitude toward the idea of the inheritance of acquired characters and his overall support of Lamarckism. According to Lamarck, the long-necked giraffe resulted from generation after generation of giraffe stretching their necks to reach higher into trees for food.
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