Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898–1976)
A capable or rather capable-of-anything demagogue and absolutely incapable plant physiologist who, in the 1930s and 1940s, got on Stalin’s good side and, shielded by his absolute political power, for a great many years and in the name of Marxism-Leninism, practically destroyed first genetics and later other fields of biology in the Soviet Union and partly in its political satellites. The era of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union finally ended in the 1960s. He declared that genetics at that time was a bourgeois quasi-science serving the interests of the governing capitalist class and initiated its replacement by progressive, Soviet genetics. Lysenkoists stated that there are no genes, that the hereditary properties of organisms change under the influence of natural conditions, that one known species can change into a different known species, e.g. as a consequence of lack of nutrition, or that living cells can be formed in a test tube from a mixture of simple substances. In the Soviet Union and other communist countries, they found a great many willing helpers who, partly from fear, partly from stupidity and partly from calculation, massively falsified scientific data and liquidated any scientific opponents through political means. In their campaign against official genetics, they brought a number of interesting phenomena to light that were known by older breeders and that seemed to be contrary to accepted genetic knowledge of the time. In this way, they discredited them for a long time and prevented them from becoming the subject of serious study.