, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 135–137 | Cite as

The lingering specter of Lysenkoism

Loren Graham: Lysenko’s ghost: Epigenetics and Russia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016, 209pp, $24.95 HB
  • William de Jong-Lambert
Book Review

It is a landmark of what is being called the “Neo-Synthesis” that Trofim D. Lysenko has been brought back into the mix under the guise of, as Loren Graham terms it, the “New Lysenkoism.” When last we left him Lysenko had been toppled from power on his farm in the Lenin Hills outside Moscow, accused of falsifying data on buttermilk fat experiments. The “Evolutionary Synthesis”—dubbed “Modern” by one of its principle proponents, Julian Huxley—had vanquished Lysenko with a path of research leading from Thomas Hunt Morgan’s “Fly Rooms” at Columbia University and the California Institute of Technology, out to populations in nature—showing genetics plus natural selection equals evolution.

According to this narrative, Darwin rejected the claim of his predecessor, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, that acquired characteristics could be inherited. This view can be supported by the things Darwin included or removed over the course of multiple editions of On the Origin of Species. On the other hand, it is...


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  4. Vargas, Alexander O., Quirin Krabichler, and Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna. 2016. An epigenetic perspective on the midwife toad experiments of Paul Kammerer (1880–1926). Journal of Experimental Zoology 328B: 179–192.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bronx Community College CUNYBronxUSA

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