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Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science

Thursday, January 18, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Mendel, Darwin, and Lysenko on Heredity
Ute Deichmann, Professor, Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,

Abstract: Mendel's 1865 "law governing the formation and development of hybrids" was one of the most prominent early examples of a mathematical model in biology, and Mendel's concepts and methods have remained of crucial importance for genetics to this day. They proved superior to those developed by Darwin, who, known for his materialistic theory of evolution ("descent with modification"), in 1868 also proposed a theory of heredity "pangenesis"), in which blending inheritance and heritable effects of environmental conditions predominated. Starting in the 1930s, Mendel's ideas and methods were attacked and rejected in the 1930s and 40s in the Soviet Union by Trofim Lysenko's anti-genetic and pro-Darwinian doctrine, "Soviet Creative Darwinism."

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at [email protected].