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History doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme

This was no idle threat. Lysenko’s powerbase was well known: “The whole country knows of the debate taking place between Vavilov and Lysenko,” one his cronies stood up and announced at a meeting. “Vavilov will have to change his ways, because Stalin said that things must not work the way Vavilov says but as Lysenko says.” Within a few years, working with Stalin and others, Lysenko was well on the way to purging Mendelian geneticists from the ranks of Soviet science, having them fired or thrown into prison if they did not swear allegiance to Lysenko’s views. He had also, for all intents and purposes, removed all mention of Mendelian genetics from biology textbooks at every level from grade school on through university.

The Botanist Who Defied Stalin

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