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 Ivan Michurin


Born:   October 27, 1855
Deceased:   June 7, 1935

Russian plant breeder

      

Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin is an eminent Russian plant breeder, founder of scientific base for selection of fruit crops. Ivan Michurin has created over 300 of valuable types of various fruit-trees, some of which have widely spread across Russia for example, winter pear-tree, some species of apples and cherries. Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin made an essential contribution to development of such sciences as genetics and biology of fruit and berry plants, performing experiments on artificial polyploidy and studying hereditys relations with ontogenesis patterns and environment. Ivan Vladimirovich has created a theory of dominance, explained a possibility of changing a genotype by means of variation of environmental conditions and developed a theory of selection of starting forms for further crossing.

Ivan Michurin is born in Vershina estate, located near the Dolgoe village, on October 27 of 1855 in the noble family. Since early childhood, Ivan spends all his spare time in the garden he is totally absorbed with growing plants, paying almost no attention to other joys of life. After Ivan graduates from Pronskoye district school, he is admitted to Ryazan gymnasium (grammar school), however, his family goes into bankruptcy, and he has to quit from the educational institution. In 1873 Ivan Vladimirovich finds a job of a clerk at local railway station. Ivan studies telegraph and signaling equipment and learns to repair them; afterwards he opens a watch-maker's shop. Future scientist settles down on the Kozlov railway station, but his duty makes him travel around for servicing watches and signaling equipment.

In 1875, being only 20 years old, Michurin rents about 500 square meters of land and starts his experiments on collecting plants and raising new varieties of fruit and berry plants. In 1899 the biologist buys a larger plot, about 13 hectars, where he moves his plants and works till the end of his days.

In 1913 Ivan Michurin rejects an offer of the US Department of Agriculture to move to America or sell his plant collection. In 1917 the scientist welcomes the new-born Soviet Union and receives support from the government for carrying on his fruitful experiments.

Only when communists come to power, Michurins works win the recognition and are being developed. On November 20, 1923, Michurins experimental nursery becomes an institution of state significance. This nursery is where Selection and Genetics station of fruit and berry plants opens in 1928, which later, in 1934, transforms into Central Genetic laboratory named after I.V. Michurin.

Michurins contribution to development of genetics, especially of fruit and berry plants, is enormous. In his laboratory cytogenetisists study cell structure and carry out experiments on artificial polyploidy. Ivan Vladimirovich studies heredity affected by ontogenesis and environment and creates the theory of dominance. Michurin proves that dominance is a historical category, which depends on heredity, ontogenesis and phylogenesis of starting forms, on individual characteristics of hybrids, as well as on growing conditions. His works give ground for possibility of changing genotypes under varying the environment.

Ivan Michurin is among founders of scientific basis for selection of crops. He pays attention to such important questions of biology, as intervarietal and remote hybridization, ontogenesis patters affecting means of raising hybrids, dominance control, estimation and selection of seedlings, acceleration of selection process by means of chemical and physical factors and others. Michurin is the author of the selection theory of starting forms for further crossing, determining that the more differences in location and environment crossed parent plants have, the easier hybrid seedlings survive the stress of new environmental conditions.

Cross-breeding of geographic isolated forms becomes widely-used technique. Michurin develops theoretical basis and some practical recommendations for remote hybridization, as well as suggests methods for overcoming genetic incompatibility barrier in remote hybridization pollination of young hybrids during their first blooming; preliminary vegetative approach; using mediators; pollination with pollen mix and others. Michurin initiates triumphant movement of southern plants, such as grapes, apricots, sweet cherries and others, northwards.

Michurins famous saying is We cannot wait for favors from the Nature. To take them from it that is our task. In 1932 the town Kozlov, where Ivan Vladimirovich lives and works, is named after him, and now is called Michurinsk.

Like many inventors, Ivan Michurin is not of this world he never thinks of himself as a genius and is grateful to the Soviet government for understading and supporting his works.

Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin dies June 7, 1935.

Sources:
    Inventors Database
    Michurinsk city website


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