Theodosius Dobzhansky: Wikis

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Theodosius Dobzhansky, ca.1966

Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky, also known as T. G. Dobzhansky, and sometimes Anglicized to Theodore Dobzhansky (Ukrainian — Теодосій Григорович Добжанський; January 24, 1900 - December 18, 1975) was a prominent geneticist and evolutionary biologist, and a central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the unifying modern evolutionary synthesis. Dobzhansky was born in Ukraine (then part of Imperial Russia) and emigrated to the United States in 1927.

Contents

Biography

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Early life

Dobzhansky was born on January 24, 1900 in Nemyriv, Ukraine (then in the Russian Empire). An only child, his father Grigory Dobzhansky was a mathematics teacher, and his mother was Sophia Voinarsky.[1] In 1910 the family moved to Kiev, Ukraine. At high school, Dobzhansky collected butterflies and decided to become a biologist.[2] In 1915, he met Victor Luchnik who convinced him to specialize in beetles instead. Dobzhansky attended the University of Kiev between 1917 and 1921, where he then studied until 1924. He then moved to Leningrad, Russia, to study under Yuri Filipchenko, where a Drosophila melanogaster lab had been established.

On August 8, 1924, Dobzhansky married geneticist Natalia "Natasha" Sivertzeva who was working with I. I. Schmalhausen in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR. The Dobzhanskys had one daughter, Sophie, who later married the American anthropologist Michael D. Coe.

This period was one of great social upheaval in Ukraine and the Russian Empire. The First World War was followed by the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then a civil war that established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as a part of the Soviet Union.

America

Dobzhansky emigrated to the United States in 1927 on a scholarship from International Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation arriving in New York on December 27. He worked with Thomas Hunt Morgan at Columbia University, who had pioneered the use of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in genetics experiments. He followed Morgan to the California Institute of Technology from 1930 to 1940. Dobzhansky is credited for having taken fruit fly research out of the laboratory and "into the field", having discovered that close regional varieties of flies were more similar to each other genetically than to flies from other regions.

In 1937 he published one of the major works of the modern evolutionary synthesis, the synthesis of evolutionary biology with genetics, entitled Genetics and the Origin of Species, which amongst other things defined evolution as "a change in the frequency of an allele within a gene pool". Dobzhansky's work was instrumental in spreading the idea that it is through mutations in genes that natural selection takes place. Also in 1937, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. During this time he had a very public falling out with one of his Drosophila collaborators, Alfred Sturtevant, based primarily in professional competition.

Dobzhansky returned to Columbia University from 1940 to 1962. He was one of the signatories of the 1950 UNESCO statement The Race Question. He then moved to the Rockefeller Institute (shortly to become Rockefeller University) until his retirement in 1971. In 1972 he was elected the first president of the BGA (Behavior Genetics Association) [3] and was recognised by the society for his role in behavior genetics and the founding of the society by the creation of the Dobzhansky Award (for a lifetime of outstanding scholarship in behavior genetics).

Final illness and the Light of Evolution

Dobzhansky's wife Natasha died of coronary thrombosis on February 22, 1969. Earlier (n June 1, 1968) Theodosius had been diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia (a chronic form of leukemia), and had been given a few months to a few years to live. He retired in 1971, moving to the University of California, Davis where his student Francisco Jose Ayala had been made assistant professor, and where continued working as an emeritus professor. He published one of his most famous essays " Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" at this time.

By 1975, his leukemia had more severe, and on November 11 he travelled to San Jacinto, California for treatment and care. He died (of heart failure) on December 18. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Californian wilderness.

Belief in God

A constant defender of Darwinian evolution and founder of the BGA (Behavior Genetics Association), Dobzhansky, according to Francisco J. Ayala nevertheless "was a religious man".[4] Dobzhansky himself spoke of God as creating through evolution, and considered himself a communicant of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Bibliography

Books

  • Sinnott, E.W., Dunn, L.C and Dobzhansky, Th. 1925. Principles of Genetics. McGraw Hill. (4 editions: 1925, 1932, 1939, 1950)
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1937. Genetics and the Origin of Species. Columbia University Press, New York. (2nd ed., 1941; 3rd ed., 1951)
  • The Biological Basis of Human Freedom (1954).
  • Dunn, L. C., & Dobzhansky, Th. 1946. Heredity, Race, and Society. The New American Library of World Literature, Inc., New York.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1955. Evolution, Genetics, & Man. Wiley & Sons, New York.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1962. Mankind Evolving. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1967. The Biology of Ultimate Concern. New American Library, New York.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1970. Genetics of the Evolutionary Process. Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1973. Genetic Diversity and Human Equality. Basic Books, New York.
  • Dobzhansky, Th., F.J. Ayala, G.L. Stebbins & J.W. Valentine. 1977. Evolution. W.H. Freeman, San Francisco.
  • Dobzhansky, Th. 1981. Dobzhansky's Genetics of Natural Populations I-XLIII. R.C. Lewontin, J.A. Moore, W.B. Provine & B. Wallace, eds. Columbia University Press, New York. (reprints the 43 papers in this series, all but two of which were authored or co-authored by Dobzhansky)
  • Dobzhansky, Th., & Boesiger, E. 1983. Human Culture, A Moment in Evolution. Columbia University Press, New York.

Papers

References

  • Ayala, Francisco J. (1985). "Theodosius Dobzhansky". Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 55: 163–213.  
  • Ford, E. B. (November 1977). "Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky, 25 January 1900 -- 18 December 1975". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 23: 58–89. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1977.0004.  

Further reading

  • Adams, M. (ed) (1994). The Evolution of Theodosius Dobzhansky : essays on his life and thought in Russia and America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691034796 (acid-free).  

Notes

  1. ^ Ford, p59.
  2. ^ Ayala, p163.
  3. ^ Historical table of BGA Meetingsl
  4. ^ Ayala FJ (1976). "Theodosius Dobzhansky: the man and the scientist". Annual Review of Genetics 10: 1–6. doi:10.1146/annurev.ge.10.120176.000245. PMID 797305.  

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Theodosius Grigorevich Dobzhansky (Феодосий Григорьевич Добржанский) (January 25, 1900 - December 18, 1975) was a noted geneticist, evolutionary biologist, and a leader of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. He was born in Russia (Ukraine) and attended Kiev University. He taught at the University of Leningrad before coming to the U.S. in 1927. In the U.S., he held positions at the Columbia University (1927-1930)and California Institute of Technology (1930-1940) , Columbia University (1940-1962), before moving to Rockefeller Institute in 1962. He remained at Rockefeller until his retirement in 1971. After retirement he continued working as an emeritus professor, moving to the University of California Davis. In his later years, Dobzhansky suffered from lymphocytic leukemia and passed away in 1975.

Dobzhansky was president of the Genetics Society of America, American Society of Naturalists, Society for the Study of Evolution, American Society of Zoologists and the American Teilhard de Chardin Association. He was awarded the National Medal of Science (1964) and the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement in Science (1969), and held more than 18 honorary doctorates. Among his well known works are Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937), one of the most important books defining the Modern evolutionary synthesis, The Biological Basis of Human Freedom (1956) and Mankind Evolving (1963).

Sourced

  • The evolution of life, and the evolutionary origin of mankind, are scientifically established as firmly and completely as any historical event not witnessed by human observers. Any concession to anti-evolutionists, suggesting that there are scientific reasons to doubt the facticity of evolution, would be propagating a plain untruth.
    • In a letter to J. Kunamoto, 1972.

"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"

The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, pp 125-129, March 1973. Presented at the 1972 NABT convention.

  • Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts -- some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.
  • Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.

External links

Wikipedia
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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Nothing in biology makes sense but in the light of evolution
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, pp 125-129, March 1973. (scanned document)


Simple English

Theodosius Dobzhansky,[1] or Theodore Dobzhansky, (24 January 1900 – 18 December 1975) was a noted geneticist and an evolutionary biologist.

Dobzhansky was born in the Ukraine (then part of Imperial Russia) and emigrated to the United States in 1927. He was a central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work on the fruit-fly Drosophila. He did research on these flies in California, mostly on populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura.

Dobzhansky was important in the modern evolutionary synthesis, which was the synthesis of evolutionary biology with genetics.

Contents

Ukraine and Russia

At school Dobzhansky collected butterflies and beetles, and studued biology at Kiev University. After graduation he moved to St Petersburg (then called Leningrad), and studied under Yuri Filipchenko, who had a Drosophila lab. Dobzhansky collected Coccinellidae (ladybird beetles) in the wild, and explored their genetics.

America

Dobzhansky emigrated to the United States in 1927. He worked with Thomas Hunt Morgan at Columbia University, who had pioneered the use of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in genetics experiments. He followed Morgan to the California Institute of Technology from 1930 to 1940. Dobzhansky took fruit fly research out of the laboratory and into the field. He discovered that regional varieties of flies were more similar to each other genetically than to flies from other regions.

In 1937 Dobzhansky published one of the major works of the modern evolutionary synthesis, entitled Genetics and the Origin of Species.[2] He defined evolution as "a change in the allele frequency within a gene pool". It is through changes in the proportion of alleles in a population that evolution takes place. Also in 1937, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. During this time he had a falling out with one of his Drosophila collaborators, Alfred Sturtevant, based perhaps on professional competition.

Dobzhansky returned to Columbia University from 1940 to 1962. He was one of the signatories of the 1950 UNESCO statement The Race Question. He then moved to the Rockefeller University) until his retirement in 1971.

Other key publications

  • Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution The American Biology Teacher 35: (March): 125-129.
  • Genetics of the evolutionary process. Columbia University Press, New York 1970.
  • Dobzhansky's Genetics of Natural Populations I-XLIII. R.C. Lewontin, J.A. Moore, W.B. Provine & B. Wallace, eds. Columbia University Press, New York 1981. (reprints the 43 papers in this series, all but two of which were authored or co-authored by Dobzhansky)

References

  1. Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky: Ukrainian Теодосій Григорович Добжанський.
  2. Dobzhansky T. Genetics and the Origin of Species. Columbia, N.Y. First ed 1937; second ed 1941; 3rd ed 1951.

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