) was a political campaign against genetics and science-based agriculture conducted by Trofim Lysenko, his followers and Soviet authorities. Lysenko served as the director of the Soviet Union's Lenin All-Union Academy
of Agricultural Sciences. Lysenkoism began in the late 1920s and formally ended in 1964. The term Lysenkoism
can also be used metaphorically to describe the manipulation
or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion
as dictated by an ideological bias
, often related to social or political objectives.
The pseudo-scientific ideas of Lysenkoism built on Lamarckian concepts of the heritability of acquired characteristics. Lysenko's theory rejected Mendelian inheritance
and the concept of the "gene"; it departed from Darwinian evolutionary theory by rejecting natural selection. Proponents falsely claimed to have discovered, among many other things, that rye could transform into wheat and wheat into barley, that weeds could spontaneously transmute into food grains
, and that "natural cooperation" was observed in nature as opposed to "natural selection". Lysenkoism promised extraordinary advances
in breeding and in agriculture that never came about.
Joseph Stalin supported the campaign. More than 3,000 mainstream
biologists were sent to prison, fired, or executed as a part of this campaign - instigated by Lysenko to suppress
his scientific opponents. The president of the Agriculture Academy, Nikolai Vavilov, was sent to prison and died there, while scientific research
in the field of genetics was effectively destroyed until the death of Stalin in 1953. Research and teaching in the fields of neurophysiology, cell
biology, and many other biological disciplines was also negatively affected or banned.