What is Lysenkoism, and why was it preferred by the Soviet Union?

162 viewsBiologyOther

What is Lysenkoism, and why was it preferred by the Soviet Union?

In: Biology

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s an application of Lamarckian Evolution, an otherwise discredited theory that had fallen out of favour after Darwin showed up on the scene. An example that’s often attributed to Lamarckian evolution is that an animal would stretch its head up toward the branches above to try to eat its leaves, making its neck longer, and that its children would in turn have longer necks that they could then stretch even further until you eventually wind up with a giraffe. It was considered incomplete, even when it was popular, because it didn’t take into account why injuries wouldn’t be inherited by offspring as well, but it was the best game in town, at the time.

What Trofim Lysenko posited was that he could produce a hardier form of wheat by carefully altering its environment and strategically pruning the plants, resulting in a hardier strain in future generations. He took his theories to Stalin who approved of its ideological purity, seeing as Darwin’s theories relied too much on the concept of competition, which was an integral element of capitalism, and therefore anathema to communism. With the backing of the Party, Lysenko was given free reign to apply his techniques to the entire Soviet wheat crop. It didn’t work out well, and much of Russia fell into famine as a result.

You are viewing 1 out of 3 answers, click here to view all answers.