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Famous Persons Associated with Plant Breeding and Genetics

AARONSOHN, A. (1876-1919); an agronomist born in  Bacau, Romania and died in an airplane crash over the English Channel; very well known in Jewish community in Ottoman Palestine both as botanical explorer and agricultural expert on semiarid regions of the Mediterranean basin; at the age of six he was brought to Haifa (Palestine) in 1882 by his parents; he studied gardening and agriculture in France and on his return was employed as an agronomist by Baron Edmond de Rothschild at Metullah (1895); he made extensive explorations in Eretz (Israel) and neighboring countries and in 1906 and discovered specimens of wild emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccoides) at Rosh Pinah, a discovery that made him famous among botanists throughout the world; he recognized wild emmer as the tetraploid ancestor of durum and bread wheats; additionally, he claimed that wild emmer, as well as other wild forms of domesticated plants, may serve as “gene pool" for crop improvement; the  discovery of T. dicoccoides  and his articles in European journals gained scientific recognition and fame for him; in 1909, he went to the USA at the invitation of the American Ministry of Agriculture; with the support of American Jews, Aaronsohn founded an agricultural research station in Atlit (Israel), where he built a rich library, collected geological and botanical samples and inspected crops; he formulated an agricultural vision for improvement of agricultural varieties and practices, particularly aimed at dry-land farming

ACHARD, F.C. (1753-1821); a German scientist and chemist; the first person who selected beet plants successfully for sugar production; he is considered to be the founder of the beet sugar industry

ANDERSON, R. G. (1924-1981); born in Ontario (Canada) he was working on genetics of rust resistance in bread wheat at the Canada Department of Agriculture; in 1964 he was appointed by Rockefeller Foundation to work in India with the skilled assistance of Dr. M. S. SWAMINATHAN and Dr. S. P. KOHLI; he contributed to world leaders, wheat scientists and farmers concerns in feeding a hungry world

ANTROPOVA, V.F. (1891-1972); a Russian agricultural botanist, crop scientist, expert in rye

ARTHUR, J. C. (1850-1942); an American botanist who first made use of formaldehyde against potato scab

BATESON, W. (1861-1926); an English geneticist recognizing the importance of Mendel’s pioneering work; he introduced Mendel’s paper to Britain and coined the word genetics; he was the first director of the John Innes Institute, Norwich, UK

BAUR, E. (1875-1933); a German botanist who contributed very much to the utilization of genetic knowledge in breeding; in 1928 he became a director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of breeding  research at Muencheberg/Berlin (Germany)

BEKE, F. (1914-1988); he was born in Bana (Hungary), persuade his studies at Gyoer (Hungary) and later on the Agricultural High School at Mosonmagyarovar (Hungary), later on the Agricultural High School at Mosonmagyarovar (Hungary); from 1949 he continued his research work at the Plant Breeding Institute, Fertoed (Hungary) on clover, rape and wheat; one of the best results achieved by him was the improvement of the winter wheat variety „F 293“; this variety showing excellent leaf rust resistance has been a leading variety in Hungary over almost 29 years; the investigation of the relationships between plant development, growth and productivity  was his main concern

BENARY, E. (1819-1893); after his apprenticeship with Friedrich A. HAAGE in Erfurt (Germany) and his travelling years which imparts him further knowledge and connections with seed companies at France, Belgium and UK, in 1843 , he founded an art and trade nursery; its aim was to build up a Garden Seed Company; benefited by the expedient climate of Erfurt for maturity of seeds, the good small-countrified social structure as well as high standard flower and vegetable crop breeding of Thuringia and the good development of transport infrastructure he succeeded with diligence, know-how and reliability to gain ground on German and foreign markets; his first flower breeding of Lychnis haageana was produced in 1859 by crossing L. sieboldii x L. fulgens; a variety of Lobelia erinus “Crystal Palace Compacta” is still grown in present days; the F1 hybrid of Begonia gracilis “Primadona” was created in 1909; famous became his dwarf petunia “Erfurter Zwerg” and “Weisse Flocke”; since 1843 until 1951 more than 500 varieties of ornamental plants were bred from species such as Abutilon, Ageratum, Alonsoa, Angelonia, Anthirrhinum, Aquilegia, Arabis, Armeria, Calistephus, Begonia, Bellis, Browallia, Calceolalria, Calendula, Campanula, Celosia, Centaurea, Cheiranthus, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Clintonia, Coleus, Collinsia, Coreopsis, Cuphea, Cyclamus, Cynoglossum, Delphinium, Dianthus, Echium, Erigeron, Exacum, Gaillardia, Gloxinia, Sinningia, Godetia, Heuchera, Iberis, Impatiens, Lathyrus, Leucanthemum, Linaria, Lobelia, Lupinus, Lynchis, Mimulus, Myosotis, Papaver, Penstemon, Petunia, Phacelia, Phlox, Primula, Pyrethrum, Rudbeckia, Saintpaulia, Salvia, Saponaria, Scabiosa, Schizanthus, Sedum, Silena, Statice, Tagetes, Tropaeolum, Verbena, Viola, Zinnia etc.; in about 50 years he accomplished an business company, which belongs to one of the important global suppliers of flower and vegetable seeds; for his employees he established a health fund and a company pension scheme; for the citizens of his Erfurt hometown he donated a public park for a recreation


BERZSENYI-JANOSITS, L. (1903-1982); an outstanding personality and father figure of  Hungarian plant breeding; he was mainly concerned with Hungarian maize breeding and organization of the Research Institute Marosvasarhely (Hungary) over more than 20 years; he reorganized Hungarian plant breeding after 1945; with the help of the FAO he provided the first foreign  (American) inbred lines for Hungary

BIFFEN, R.; he initiated the wheat breeding at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK, in 1896; he introduced Mendelian genetics into wheat breeding; he was the first director of the Plant Breeding Institute; he bred the varieties included “Little Joss”, released in 1908, from a cross of the old English Wheat, “Squarehead’s Master” and a Russian variety “Ghirka” with good resistance to yellow rust

BOHUTINSKY, G. (1877-1914); he was head of the Plant Breeding Station, and professor at the Royal Farming School at Krizevci (Serbia) in the period from 1930 to 1912; during that time, he conducted an extensive research work mainly on wheat and maize; his paper: The Crossing of  ‘Squarehead ‘ x ‘Banatska Brkilja’ (1911), published in “Gospodarska smorta “ (the first scientific journal issued in 1909), represents one of the earliest significant work on wheat genetics in the territory of Yugoslavia of today;  by method of individual selection from autochthonous population like “White Wheat from Srijem” and “Somogy Wheat” or from introduced wheats, among which “Sirban Prolific” held an outstanding position, he studied (1907) and obtained higher yielding types of wheats;  owing to better yielding, his selections were soon spread all over Croatia, including Istria and Dalmatia, and parts of Slovenia and Bosnia; they were grown under the name of “Bohutinsky´s Wheats” until 1925

BORLAUG, N. E. (1914-2009); born in Cresco, USA; an American agricultural scientist, plant pathologist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970; he studied plant biology and forestry at the University of Minnesota (USA) and in 1941 earned a PhD in plant pathology; at a research station at Campo Atizapan he developed strains of grain that dramatically increased crop yield; he also created wheat-rye hybrids known as triticale; he served as Director of the Inter-American Food Crop Program (1960-1963) and as a Director of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center at Mexico City, Mexico (1964 to 1979); he was one of those who laid the ground work of the so-called Green Revolution, the agricultural technological advance that promised to alleviate the world hunger

BORODIN, I. P. (1847-1930); a Russian botanist; professor of St. Petersburg University, 1899-1905 was the Head of Bureau of Applied Botany

BREZHNEV, D. D. (1905-1982); a Russian plant scientist and geneticist; expert in tomato; from 1937-1941 he was in charge of the Department of Vegetable Crops at VIR; in 1965-1978 took directorship of VIR (Leningrad (Russia)

BUDIN, K.Z.; a Russian agronomist, crop scientist; expert in potato; he was Head of the Department of Potato VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

BUKASOV, S. M. (1891-1983); a Russian botanist and plant breeder; one of most prominent experts of potato breeding; from 1918 worked at the Department of Applied Botany, later he became  Head of Potato Department VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

CORRENS, C. E. (1864-1934); a German botanist and geneticist who in 1900, independent of, but  simultaneously with, the biologists E. TSCHERMAK VON SEYSENEGG and H. DE VRIES, rediscovered G.  MENDEL’s historic paper on principles of heredity

CRICK, R. (1916-); an English scientist; together with J. Watson he was able to show that the hereditary  substance of the chromosomes is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

DARWIN, C. (1809-1882); an English biologist who wrote the book „The origin of Species“ in 1859; he first  presented the idea in a scientifically plausible way that biological species can change over the time

DERERA, N. F. (1918-); in 1981 he retired as Director of Wheat Breeding of the I. A. Watson Wheat Research Center form the University of Sydney’s (Australia) Plant Breeding Institute after a 40 year career; born in Hungary and graduating  in Agricultural Sciences in 1943 he was working at Hungarian Cotton Research Institute; in 1957 he moved to Australia, working first as cotton producer and since 1959 at the Narrabri Irrigation Research Station as cotton breeder; in 1961 he joint the University of Sydney as a wheat breeder, leading to the varieties „Timgalen“, „Gatcher“, „Songlen“, „Timson“ and „Shortim“; in 1979  these cultivars collectively occupied 77 % (= 724,000 ha) of the prime hard wheat growing area of New south Wales (Australia)

DIPPE, A. (1824-1890); a German a agronomist and breeder who was founding in Quedlinburg (Germany) breeding and seed company; he was one of the biggest seed producer for sugarbeet during the last and  at the beginning of this century

DOROFEEV, V. F. (1919-1987); a Russian agronomist, botanist and expert in wheat breeding; he was Head of the Department of Wheat (1978-1987) and Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

DRAGAVTSEV, V.A.; a Russian agronomist, geneticist; from 1991 the Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

EIHFELD, J.G. (1893-1989); a Russian biologist and plant breeder; in 1923-1940 was in charge of the Polar Branch of VIR (Leningrad, Russia); in 1940-1951 he was the Director of VIR

ENGLEDOW, F.; an English wheat breeder; he bred in 1935 the variety “Holdfast”, which is the first winter wheat of northern region with good bread-making quality; the most important genes it carried for bread-making quality are still present in modern varieties 

ENKEN, V.F. (1900-1981); a Russian agronomist, botanist and expert in soya; from 1925 he worked at the Institute of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia)

EYAL, Z., (1937-1999); a prominent leader of plant pathological research in cereals and its practical applications in combating fungal disease; he studied agronomy at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater (USA) and earned a PhD in plant pathology in 1966; he serves twice as a Head of Department of Plant Sciences of Tel Aviv University (Israel) and was appointed as Director of the University's Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement in 1996; he became one of the leading researchers in the field of wheat-Septoria interactions, initiating and guiding multi-pronged approaches towards understanding both plant and pathogen biology

FAMINTSIN, A.S. (1835-1918); a Russian botanist and plant physiologist

FISHER, R. A. (1890-1962); he was the second of twins born at  St James, London (UK); in 1904 he entered Harrow and was winning the Neeld Medal in 1906 in a mathematical essay competition open to the whole school; FISHER was awarded a 80 scholarship from Caius and Gonville College, Cambridge, which was necessary to finance his studies; in October 1909 he matriculated at Cambridge (UK); although he studied mathematics and astronomy at Cambridge, he was also interested in biology; in his second year as an undergraduate he began consulting senior members of the university about the possibility of forming a Cambridge University Eugenics Society; he graduated with distinction in the mathematical tripos of 1912; it was FISHER's interest in the theory of errors that eventually led him to investigate statistical problems; after leaving Cambridge, FISHER had no means of financial support and worked for a few months on a farm in Canada; later he returned to London, taking up a post as a statistician in the Mercantile and General Investment Company; the interest in eugenics, and his experiences working on the Canadian farm, made him interested in starting a farm of his own and gave up being a mathematics teacher in 1919 when he was offered two posts simultaneously; K. PEARSON offered him the post of chief statistician at the Galton laboratories and he was also offered the post of statistician at the Rothamsted Agricultural Experiment Station; this was the oldest agricultural research institute in the UK, established in 1837 to study the effects of nutrition and soil types on plant fertility, and it appealed to FISHER's interest in farming; he accepted the post at Rothamsted where he made many contributions both to statistics, in particular the design and analysis of experiments, and to genetics; there he studied the design of experiments by introducing the concept of randomization and the analysis of variance, procedures now used throughout the world; FISHER's idea was to arrange an experiment as a set of partitioned sub-experiments that differ from each other in having one or several factors or treatments applied to them; the sub-experiments were designed in such a way as to permit differences in their outcome to be attributed to the different factors or combinations of factors by means of statistical analysis; this was a notable advance over the existing approach of varying only one factor at a time in an experiment, which was a relatively inefficient procedure; in 1921 he introduced the concept of likelihood; the likelihood of a parameter is proportional to the probability of the data and it gives a function which usually has a single maximum value, which he called the maximum likelihood; in 1922 he gave a new definition of statistics; its purpose was the reduction of data; he identified three fundamental problems: These are: (a) specification of the kind of population that the data came from, (b) estimation and (c)  distribution; FISHER published a number of important texts, in particular Statistical Methods for Research Workers (1925) ran to many editions which he extended throughout his life; it was a handbook for the methods for the design and analysis of experiments which he had developed at Rothamsted; the contributions FISHER made included the development of methods suitable for small samples and the discovery of the precise distributions of many sample statistics; FISHER published The design of experiments (1935) and Statistical tables (1947); while at the Agricultural Experiment Station he had conducted breeding experiments with mice, snails and poultry, and the results he obtained led to theories about gene dominance and fitness which he published in The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (1930); in 1933 K. PEARSON retired as Galton Professor of Eugenics at University College and FISHER was appointed to the chair as his successor; he held this post for ten years, being appointed as Arthur BALFOUR Professor of Genetics at the University of Cambridge in 1943; before this, however, he had moved away from London when war broke out in 1939, finding temporary accommodation at Harpenden; he retired from his Cambridge chair in 1957 but continued to carry out his duties there for another two years until his successor could be appointed; he then moved to the University of Adelaide (Australia) where he continued his research for the final three years of his life

FLYAKSBERGER, K.A. (1880-1939); a Russian botanist, expert in cereal crop taxonomy; from 1907 he worked with the Bureau of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia)

FRANKEL, O., (1900-1998); born in Vienna, he studied agriculture at the University of Berlin (Germany) and earned his doctorate in agriculture from the University of Berlin in 1925; he was employed for two years (1925-1927) as a plant breeder on a large private estate at Dioseg/Bratislava (Slovakia); later he began wheat and barley breeding at Lincoln College/Christchurch (New Zealand), where he was to work until 1951; he began his breeding program with introducing quantitative assessments of grain yield, of milling and baking quality, which led to the release of the widely grown variety “Cross 7” (1934), “Taiaroa” and “Tainui” (1939),  “Fife-Tuscan” (1941), and subsequently “WRI-Yielder” (1947); he put a considerable effort into optimizing the role of quality-testing in the selection process; his post-retirement research was focused on the base sterile mutants of speltoid wheats.; he also examined the effect of a period in short days at high temperatures at the beginning of floral initiation on the pattern of floret sterility in several normal and base sterile genotypes; he  was one of the pioneer, particularly in placing the genetic resources movement within the wider context of the conservation of biological diversity and of the opportunity for continuing evolution

FRIEDRICH, B. (1899-1980); he studied plant breeding during the twenties of last century, assisting prof. TSCHERMAK-SEYSENEGG, at the Hochschule fuer Bodenkunde in Vienna (Austria); from 1938 to 1948 he was working as barley and wheat breeder at Sladkowicovo (Czechoslovakia); after 1945 he became appointed in Martonvasar (Hungary) till his retirement; he always was active  in searching for new ways in plant breeding; applying  new ideas in mechanization of nursery techniques; he successfully planted rust nurseries of wheat in naturally infected locations for detection of resistant genotypes against rusts already since 1946

GOVOROV, L.I. (1885-1941); a Russian agronomist and plant breeder; from 1915 he worked at Moscow Breeding Station; from 1923 he was the Head of the Steppe Station, and later he became in charge of the Department of Leguminous Crops at VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

GRABNER, E. (1878-1955); he started the breeding work in Hungary at the beginning of the last century; by influences and visits of European plant breeding institutes in Sweden and Austria he created the prerequisites for professional plant breeding in Hungary based on MENDEL’s laws of inheritance; it is summarized in the book „Breeding of Agricultural Plants“ he published in 1908;  soon after this time the first Hungarian institute of plant breeding was founded in Magyarovar in 1909; he directed the institute for 28 years; owing to his inspiring work in 1911 on 20 locations of the country professional plant breeding was carried on several crops; on his motion also the first order regulating the system of variety registration was passed in 1915, earlier than in any other European country

GREBENSCIKOV, I. S. (1912-1986); born in St. Petersburg (Russia) he studied at the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Belgrad (Serbia); in 1938 he obtained the MSc degree; from 1942 he continued his work at the Genetic Department of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut, Berlin (Germany) where he carried out human brain research together with his Russian colleague N. TIMOFEEFF-RESSOVSKY (one of the early mutation researcher); in 1946 he was appointed by the Zentralinstitut fuer Kulturpflanzenforschung, Gatersleben (Germany); he became a recognized specialist for genetic-taxonomic studies in maize and Cucurbitaceae; his particular interest was focused on the inheritance of quantitative traits, e.g., the ontogenetic dominance variance; moreover, he was one of the first taxonomists introducing the term ‘convariety’ in maize taxonomy, besides research on the origin and cultivation of maize; both in maize and Cucurbitaceae he studied the phenomenon of heterosis

GYORFFY, B. (1911-1970); a Hungarian geneticist who obtained his PhD at the University of Szeged (Hungary); in 1937 he obtained a postdoctoral position in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (Berlin, Germany); F. VON WETTSTEIN , a former student of C. CORRENS, strongly influenced GYORFFY’s scientific career; inspirited by the numerous scientific papers about induced polyploidization via colchicine treatment he devoted  to polyploidy research; from 1944  he became a director of the National Institute  of Plant Breeding in Magyarovar (Hungary); in several positions he contributed very much to the development of the modern Hungarian plant breeding and agriculture

HADJINOV, M. I. (1899-1988); an outstanding Russian maize breeder and geneticist working since 1940  at Research Institute of Agriculture, Krasnodar (Russia); from 1946-1948 he widely used inbred lines to obtain variety-line crosses that resulted in a number of commercial hybrids sown over large acreage in the USSR; since 1954 he was attracted to studies and utilization of cytoplasmic male sterility in maize breeding, at almost the same time when in USA the first publication on CMS for hybrid seed production appeared; he initiated studies on maize grain quality (opaque-2), polyploidy, distant hybridization with Tripsacum and Teosinte, induced mutagenesis, haploidy, prolificacy etc.

HAVENER, R. D. (1930-2005); he was one of the pioneers in the global agricultural research system, working for the world’s rural poor for more than five decades; he led CIMMYT (Mexico) from 1978 to 1985 as the center’s third Director General, bringing recognition as one of the leading international agricultural research organizations in the world; when he came to CIMMYT, N. BORLAUG was director of the wheat program and E. SPRAGUE the director of the maize program; during his leadership CIMMYT expanded its regional presence and strengthened the economics program; for 14 years he worked as a senior agricultural program officer of the Ford Foundation; he served as interim Director General at both CIAT (1994) and IRRI (1998) and was instrumental in the founding of ICARDA and ILRI; he served as Chair of the ICARDA Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2003 and was the founding President of the Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an advisor for the World Food Prize and sat on the Board of Directors of Sasakawa Africa Association whose president is Dr. N. BORLAUG

HEINE, F. (1840-1920); a German agronomist and breeder working in Hadmersleben (Germany); he bred several wheat varieties which still carrying his name

INNES, J., (1829-1904); he was the founder of John Innes Horticultural Institute; it became later the John Innes Institute of Plant Science, Norwich, UK; he was a City businessman working in partnership with his brother James Innes in a company, which owned large sugarcane plantations in Jamaica and imported rum into England

IVANOV, A.I. (1934-1988); a Russian agronomist, plant scientist and expert in alfalfa; he was Head of the Department of Forage Grasses of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

IVANOV, I. V. (1915-1998); Professor of Agronomy and a member of the Bulgarian Agricultural Academy of Sciences; he was born in Karnobat (Bulgaria) in 1915; he received his MSc (agronomy) degree in 1946 from Sofia University and his PhD in 1974 from HAC, dealing with wheat breeding and seed production techniques; he started work in 1946 as an agronomist at the Institute of Scientific and Applied Research in Karnobat; in 1948 he was appointed at the Agricultural Institute of Dobrich to assist Prof. Tanio SHARKOV, a wheat breeder; he returned to the Institute in Karnobat from 1951 until 1962, when two wheat breeding centers were formed at Sadovo and Dobrich (Bulgaria); later he  served as chairman of the wheat breeding program at the Agricultural Experimental Station in Sadovo (Bulgaria) from 1962 until his  retirement in 1976; between 1966 and 1969, he was Deputy Director of Agricultural Experiment Station in Proslav, near Plovdiv; he contributed greatly to the development and release of 12 wheat varieties in Bulgaria and received the outstanding research award from the government in 1978; his bread wheat cultivars “Sadovo 1” and “Katya” were the second and first places finishers in 1977 and 1984, respectively, in a world competition organized by the Agronomy Department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (USA); those cultivars are still grown in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey as good and productive bread wheats, possessing a balance of agronomic traits

IVANOV, N. N. (1884-1940); a Russian chemist, biochemist and plant physiologist; from 1923 he was a professor of Leningrad State University; from 1922 he was in charge of the Biochemistry Laboratory of the Department of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia)

IVANOV, N. R. (1902-1978); a Russian plant scientist and plant breeder; from 1926 he worked at the Institute of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia); he has been the Institute's Director during the siege of Leningrad; from 1967 he  was the Scientific Secretary of the Commission on N. I. VAVILOV's heritage under the USSR Academy of Sciences

JENSEN, N. F. (1915-???); born in Hazen (USA) studied at Cornell University till 1939; in 1946 he returned to Cornell  and became  Assistant Professor in the small grains breeding program; during more 30 year career he marked major achievements in the breeding of spring barley, winter barley, winter wheat, spring oats and winter oats; he viewed the breeding process as being composed of three stages; he first divided it into heterozygous and homozygous phases, where heterozygous phase deals with everything up to individual line selection (F5 or F6) and the homozygous phase deals  with all subsequent line evaluation and variety release; he further subdivided the heterozygous stage, separating  the planning and hybridization form the handling of the early generation progenies

JESENKO, F. (1875-1932); he was a research assistant of E. von TSCHERMAK in Vienna (Austria), he successfully crossed different wheat varieties with, e.g., Triticum dicoccoides, Secale cereale and S. montanum, and T.  dicoccoides with hybrids between S. montanum and S. cereale; by crossing “Mold Squarehead” wheat and “Petkus Rye”, he was one of the first producing perennial wheat-rye hybrids; after its backcrossing to wheat, a fertile perennial plant was obtained; the first report of this extensive work on wheat-rye hybrids was presented on 4th International Genetic Conference, Paris (France) in 1911; in 1919, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry was established at Zagreb University, and F. JESENKO was appointed as lecturer; later, from 1921; he was professor of botany at Ljubljana University; the later research on interspecific hybridization, particularly, studies on F1 plants from crosses Triticum aestivum and Aegilops geniculata, were never published due to his incidental death

JOHANNSEN, W. L. (1859-1927); a Danish biologist who called the phenomenon of dominance and  recessiveness "gene"

KAMERAZ, A. Y. (1904-1994); a Russian agronomist, plant scientist and breeder, expert in potato breeding; from 1927 he worked at the Institute of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia)

KAPPERT, H. (1890-1976); a German botanist; he was between 1914-1920 an assistant of C. CORRENS in Berlin (Germany)

KARPECHENKO, G. D. (1899-1941); born in Velsk (Russia); he was one of the leading geneticists in Russia during the thirties of the last century; he was heading the Department of Genetics at the Institute of Plant Industry (Leningrad, Russia; before 1930 - the Russian Institute of Applied Botany and New Crops) and the Chair of Plant Genetics at Leningrad State University (Russia); in 1940-1941, following the arrest of N.I. VAVILOV, Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia), several leading scientists of this institute were arrested; like VAVILOV, G.D. KARPECHENKO was among them; his life ended in prison; he was executed by shooting

KEMENESY, E. (1891-1981); he studied at the Agricultural Academy, Debrecen (Hungary) under  Prof. K. KERPELY; as soil scientist he emphasized the soil fertility for optimal plant production; he organized the Agricultural Research Institute at Keszthely and educated many of famous Hungarian agronomists

KIHARA, H. (1904-1986); he took his graduation from Hokkaido University (Japan) in 1918; at about the same time his life interest became fixed, when T. SAKAMURA and K. SAX discovered simultaneously discovered the ploidy evolution of wheat; as teacher in genetics at the Botany Department at the Kyoto University (Japan) since 1920 he could develop his wheat research; after two years  studies at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Biology in Berlin (Germany) under  C. CORRENS, he returned to Kyoto;  he revealed  step by step the secrets of wheat evolution from genome to plasmon interrelationships; he was one of the discoverer of Aegilops squarrosa as the donor to the third (D) wheat genome

KNIGHT, T. A. (1759-1838); from 1811 until 1838 he has been the president of Horticultural Society of London (England) – a botanist showing experience and scientific instinct; he was convinced that yield increase in plants and animals can be achieved cross breeding; in 1779, he emphasized the practical aspects of hybrids in grape, apple, pear and plums, particularly to improve winter hardiness; his pea crosses (1799-1823) are of genetic interest; as >>> G. MENDEL he recognized the advantage of pea as a breeding subject;  he often noted luxuriance of hybrids and the advantage of outcrossing to produce new forms; as the first he described the dominance of the gray seed color over the white one, however, did not calculate the relation of different segregating fractions

KOBYLANSKY, V.D.; a Russian agronomist, botanist and geneticist, expert in rye; was Head of the Department of Cereals of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

KOENNECKE, G. (1908-1992); a German agronomist working as professor at the University Halle/S.  (Germany); is was concerned about the utilization of crop rotations for increasing the agricultural  productivity and choosing right crop varieties for suitable environments

KORIC, M. (1894-1977); he was head of the Plant Breeding Station at Agricultural School at Krizevci (Serbia); from 1922 to 1929 by applying combination breeding and crossing domestic adapted wheats with imported varieties, which carried genes for certain desirable traits (strong straw, earliness, rust resistance, good bread-making quality), he achieved important progress in local wheat breeding; he introduced earliness and shorter straw by crossing the Italian wheats, which carried genes for these characteristics of the Japanese wheat “Akakomugi”, while the quality was obtained by crossing the Canadian spring wheats which carried the quality characteristics of the Indian wheat “Calcutta Red”; among these wheats the best known and spreaded were cultivars “K6” and “K9”; at Osijek (1929-1948) he continued his work and developed a number of wheats of which “Koric's Awnless”, “Osjecka Sisulja” or “U-1” became most famous; due to its superiority in relation to other domestic cultivars, very soon they spread on over 50,000 ha, and became leading cultivars in wheat production in the western parts of Yugoslavia till the early sixties

KOSTOV, D. (1897-1949); a Bulgarian geneticist and cytogeneticist; he studied agriculture and obtained a PhD in agriculture at the University of Halle/S. (Germany); under the guidance of E. M. EAST at the Harvard university he studied the ontogeny, genetics and cytogenetics of Nicotiana, Triticum and Helianthus hybrids as well as tumors and other malformation on certain Nicotiana hybrids; later, at VAVILOV’s laboratory of genetics he continued the research work on polyploidy of plants

KRISTEV, K. K. (1912-1986); an outstanding Bulgarian plant pathologist was born in Khaskovo (Bulgaria); he was educated at the Sofia State Agro-Forestry Institute; he was trained as a young agronomist in 1935 at the newly established Institute of Plant Protection (Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria); afterward he served for about 11 years at the Department off Plant Pathology at the Sofia (Bulgaria); he earned  a PhD on smut and bunt diseases of wheat in 1943; till 1976 he remained in different positions on this site; thereafter he was appointed  as Head of the International Wheat Immunity Laboratory at the Dobroudja Wheat and Sunflower Institute, General Toshevo/Varna, Bulgaria (1976-1979); besides his teaching and organizing activities his scientific activity was dedicated to research on smut and rust diseases in wheat, on the mechanism of enzyme activity, virology and toxicology and on several new diseases of crops cultivated in Bulgaria

KRONSTAD, W.E. (1932-2000); he was born in 1932, in Bellingham (USA);  following active military service from 1952-1954, he attended Washington State University (USA) receiving a BS degree in Agronomy in 1957; in 1959 he was awarded an MS degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the same institution; he then joined the ARS-USDA wheat breeding program at Washington State University as a research assistant with the late Dr. O. A. VOGEL; from 1959  to 1963 W. E. KRONSTAD served as an instructor in the Farm Crops Department at Oregon State University (USA) and received his PhD degree in 1963; he remained at Oregon State University and was appointed project leader for cereal breeding and genetics in 1963; he continued to serve in this role, and many others, until his retirement in 1998

LULPA, W. (1923-1984); born in Bialobrzegi (Poland); from 1945 – 1950  he studied at the University of Lublin (Poland); he started his career as seed scientist at the same university; in 1954 he became the Head of the Chair of Plant Breeding and Seed Science of the University of Lublin; his PhD degree he obtained in 1959 (“Biology and Germination of Adonis vernalis L.”); after a post-doc study at the Central Institute of Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben (Germany) he devoted himself to the studies of systematics of Linum usitatissimum and later of Veronica species; after 22 years of teaching and scientific work at the University of Lublin he was appointed as Head of the Department of Plant Collections at the Institut Hodowli & Kalimatyzacji Roslin in Radzikow (Poland); in that position he became the main organizer of crop plant collections in Poland; he successfully developed the scientific exchange with EUCARPIA, FAO and IBPGR; he organized and participated on several expeditions within Poland, the Tatra mountain region, Bieszczaden, Caucasian region, Turkey etc.  in order to collect wild species of crop plants and for safeguarding plant genetic resources

LEIN, A. (1912-1977); a distinguished  German cereal breeder; he started his career at the Cytogenetic  Department of the Institute of Plant Cultivation and Plant Breeding of the University of Halle/S., Germany; in 142 he took the PhD with the subject „The genetic basis of the ability of crossbreeding between wheat and rye“; since 1944 he evaluated wheats  from collections of the German Hindu Kush expedition 1935-1936; 1947 he continued  his scientific work as the head of Department of Self-fertilization at the Max Planck Institute for Breeding Research at Voldagsen (Germany); in 149 he became head breeder of the company Ferdinand HEINE at Schnega (Germany); in 1969  he became the responsible head breeder for  barley and wheat at the F. von Lochow-Petkus GmbH (Germany); among the numerous  successful varieties are the winter wheats „Kranich“ and „Kormoran“, the spring wheats „Kolibri“ and „Selpek“ and the spring barley „Oriol“

LELLEY, J. (1909-2003); born in Nyitra (Hungary) he was one of the outstanding Hungarian wheat breeders; he studied in Budapest (Hungary); in 1931 he graduated from the Agricultural High School at Mosonmagyarovar (Hungary); after a short stay at Bratislava (Slovakia) in an agricultural office, he received a post-gradual training in plant breeding after 1946; he moved to the Plant Breeding Station at Kompolt (Hungary) and developed an extensive wheat breeding program, conducted basic research  on the methodology of breeding and on resistance to different stresses; he also organized a special research station in the mountains for screening wheat for frost resistance; he got good results in the improvement of leaf rust and drought of wheat and worked out an effective new method for artificial infection; he improved the excellent bearded spring wheat and winter wheat „K 169“; in 1962 he started to organize a new wheat breeding center at Kiszombor (Hungary); there he improved the cultivars „Kiszombori 1“ and „GK Tiszataj“; the latter was one of the best quality wheats in Europe with a protein content of 16-17 %; in 1954 he wrote a handbook on wheat breeding „Wheat Breeding, Theory and Practice“; he retired in 1972

LUKYANENKO, P. P. (1901-1973); a Russian very successful winter wheat breeder working at Krasnodar (Russia); his name became known throughout the world in connection with outstanding varieties;  the worldwide successful variety „Bezostaya 1” became famous in every wheat-producing  country of the world; his varieties were grown on more than 10 million hectares  and were widespread on all those regions , which resemble even slightly the district of Kuban (Russia); This variety was not the peak of his work; he was able to outdo this by varieties, such as „Avrora“, „Kavkaz“, „Bezostaya 2“, „Skorospelka“, or „Rannaya 12“; those varieties „Avrora“ and „Kavkaz“ carried the so-called 1RS.1BL translocation that were transferred around the world as well: they are still used in wheat improvement programs

LYSENKO, T. (1898-1976); a Russian botanist believing in Lamarckianism; in 1934 he became the Scientific Director of the Odessa Institute (Odessa, Russia); he was also a researcher at VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

MAERKER, M. (1842-1901); a German agronomist promoting plant breeding at the agrochemical research  station Halle/S. (Germany); he introduced a system for testing crop varieties for defined environments

MARSCHNER, H. (1929-1996); he was born in 1929 at Zuckmantel (Czech Republic); he studied agriculture and chemistry at the University of Jena (Germany), obtained a PhD in Agricultural Chemistry in 1957 and then joined the Institut fuer Kulturpflanzenforschung, Gatersleben (Germany); during these years, he developed his interest in modern techniques for studying plant nutrient uptake; in 1966, he became  Professor of Plant Nutrition at the Technische Universitaet Berlin (Germany), and since 1977 he was Director of the Institut fuer Pflanzenernaehrung at the University of Hohenheim (Germany); he was one of the most highly esteemed scientists in the area of plant mineral nutrition; at the beginning of his career he mainly studied the uptake of mineral nutrients, but then extended this to include nutrient transport and use within the plant; his later research greatly advanced the understanding of rhizosphere processes and iron uptake by plants; he also included environmental aspects of plant nutrition in his work, e.g.,  on the side-effects of high rates of agricultural fertilizer use, on heavy metal contamination of soils, and on the effect of changes in forest ecosystems on the uptake and use of nutrients by trees; he also published extensively on the adaptation mechanisms of plants to adverse soil conditions and low nutrient supply; studies on the efficient use of fertilizers in developing countries were of particular importance to him, in recent years especially in Turkey, West Africa, and China; he was one of the first who related plant nutrition phenomena with genetic control and breeding approaches

McCLINTOCK, B. (1902-1992); born in 1902 at Hartford (USA); she studied plant genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca USA), receiving her doctorate in botany in 1927; she took a research position at Carnegie's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York) for more than 40 years; by observing and experimentation with variations in the coloration of kernels of maize, she discovered that the genetic information is not stationary and suggested that the transposable elements were responsible for the diversity in cells during an organism's development; she won the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1983 for discovery of mobile genetic elements, a discovery that heavily influenced molecular genetics since the last two decades of last century

MELCHERS, F. (1905-1997); a German geneticist; he strongly contributed to the cell research and utilization of cell techniques in breeding; he was the first who developed a vital potato-tomato hybrid by cell fusion  methods

MELLO-SAMPAYO, T, (1923-1997); he was born at Pangim, Nova Goa, ex-Portuguese State of India; he was graduated in 1949 in Agronomy at the Technical University of Lisbon (Portugal); after a short period in Mozambique, he went to the National Agricultural Station where he began his cytogenetic studies under the supervision of Prof. Antonio CAMARA - mainly on wheat cytogenetics, e.g., aneuploidy, chromosome pairing regulation and NORs activity; he put particular attention to aneuploids of tetraploid wheat and obtained two compensated lines (“Camara” and “Resende”); moreover, he studied the dose effects of the Ph gene on chromosome pairing, achromatic fusion and on chromosome interlocking; he also developed, with other collaborators, the practical and theoretical concept of mixoploid genomes of wheat and triticale; several papers were devoted to regulation of NORs and amphiplasty in interspecific hybrids

MENDEL, G. J. (1822-1884); an Austrian Augustinian monk in the monastery of Bruenn (now Brno); by experiments he discovered the underlying principles of heredity

MERKLE, O. G. (1929-1999); he was born in 1929 in  Meade USA); he earned a BSc in Agronomy in 1951 and a MSc in Plant Breeding in 1954, both degrees from Oklahoma State University; in 1957 he moved to College Station, Texas (USA) where he worked as an agronomist with the USDA/ARS; he received the PhD degree from Texas A&M University in 1963 with a major in plant breeding and a minor in plant pathology; he continued with ARS at College Station until 1974 when he transferred to Stillwater, Oklahoma (USA); there, he worked as an ARS Research Agronomist until he retired in 1988; his work encompassed many facets of practical research ranging from interactions of environment with fertilization and plant spacing to the inheritance of wheat flour quality and resistance to pests and drought; improvement and development of small grain germplasm and cultivars were among his most important contributions to agriculture; as agronomist-breeder on research teams in Texas and Oklahoma, he made significant contributions to the development of flax cultivars “Caldwell”, “Dillman” and “Mac”,  and wheat cultivars “Caddo”, “Milam”, “Sturdy”, “Fox”, “Mit” and “Century”; he and his coworkers released and registered more than 15 wheat germplasm lines with resistance to disease (rust) or insects (Hessian fly and the yellow sugarcane aphid) and with improved characters (large seed); and pearl millet germplasm lines with resistance to chinch bug; prior to retirement, he was active in evaluating barley, wheat, and wild Triticum species for resistance to the Russian wheat aphid; he also evaluated winter and spring wheat genotypes for tolerance to drought in cooperative programs with colleagues at Lubbock (USA), and El Batan (Mexico)

MIKUZ, F. (1889-1978); he was a coworker of F. JESENKO and since 1921, head of newly established plant breeding station in Beltinci (Yugoslavia); he was engaged in breeding of wheat, oats, rye, maize and buckwheat; his wheat cultivars “Beltinska 227”, “Beltinska 321” and “Beltinska 831” were known and spread in Slovenia

MILOHNIC, J. (1920-1974); a Croatian breeder at the Institute of Breeding and Crop Production, Zagreb, Croatia;  his main concern was cereal and fodder legume breeding; the winter vetch variety „Ratarka“ has been of great local importance

MISCHER, F. (1844-1895); a German chemist; he first described a method for purification of nuclei from the cytoplasm; from the nuclei he isolated a acid compound, the nuclein; later it was called nucleic acid

MORGAN, T.H. (1866-1945); an American geneticist working on fruit fly; demonstrating that genes are located on chromosomes

MULLER, H. (1890-1967); an American geneticist working on fruit fly; demonstrating that genes are located on chromosomes

MUENTZING, A. (1903-1984); born in Goeteborg (Sweden) he became interested  in the work of H. NILSSON-EHLE when he was a student;  the group around H. NILSSON-EHLE influenced  his early species concept when he was already a teacher at the University of Lund (Sweden); he also studied the theory of WINGE of the role of polyploidy in plant evolution; in his PhD thesis in 1930 he reported about the polyploidy in the genus Galeopsis; he was able to re-synthesize a Linnean species Galeopsis tetrahit (2n=4x=32) by combining G. speciosa (2n=2x=16) and G. pubescens (2n=2x=16); at this time A. MUENTZING he was serving as a sugar beet breeder at Hilleshoeg (Sweden); however, in 1931 he founded a cytogenetic department at Svaloef in order to study and to utilize polyploidy as a factor in breeding; he was successful in producing autopolyploids as tetraploid rye as well as allotetraploids as triticale; he also continued  his research on Galeopsis, Lamium, Potentilla etc.;  he tried to analyze  the phenomena of inbreeding and heterosis and the causes of sterility barriers; when in 1938 NILSSON-EHLE retired as professor of genetics at the University of Lund MUENTZING succeeded him; due to his concept of genetics his chair at the University of Lund (Sweden) should cover a broader field of genetics than just crops;  he got human genetics and zoological material represented and developed a chromosome research branch, which was headed by A. LEVAN; he was very happy to see the success of triticale breeding during the seventies and eighties of the last century, which he already started during the thirties

NOVER, I. (1915-1985); born in Kassel (Germany) she studied at the Biological and Agricultural Faculties of the Universities Wroclaw (Poland) and Halle/S. (Germany) from 1934 to 1938; she obtained her PhD degree at the University Halle/S. in 1941 working on mildew in wheat; from 1948 she became appointed at the Phytopathological Institute of the University of Halle/S. where she remained till her retirement in 1976; during the 28 years work on resistance to rusts, smuts and mildew she heavily contributed to resistance breeding in wheat, barley and rye in Germany; she was one of the first plant pathologists establishing tester stock collections, evaluating wild collections and transferring results of basic research to breeding programs

PAULY, E. (1905-1989); a German lady breeder working in Quedlinburg (Germany); she bred several varieties of Mathiola, Callistephus, Antirrhinum, Petunia, Viola etc.

PESOLA, V. A. (1892-1983);  born at Turku (Finland) he studied botany and plant biology at the University of Turku (Finland); from 1918 to 1924 he worked in the Plant Breeding Station of Jaevenpaeae and specialized  later at Jokionen from 1924 to 1928; he became the head of the Plant Breeding Station at Jokionen in 1928; since 1930 he has been director of  Plant Breeding Station of the Center for Agronomical Science (Tikkurila); not only for his own country but also for the Scandinavian countries, for Canada and the Russia his work had a pioneered character in opening hundreds of kilometers for agriculture towards the North; he produced more than 20 varieties for practice

PISAREV, V. E. (1883-1972); a Russian agronomist, crop breeder and geographer; founder of Tulun Experiment Station (Russia); from 1921 scientific expert of the Department of Applied Botany and  from 1925 Deputy Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

PRIDHAM, J. T. (1879-1954); plant breeder born at Stanmore, Sydney (Australia); educated at Sydney Grammar School and Hawkesbury Agricultural College, where he was dux in 1900; he joined the Department of Agriculture as an experimentalist in 1901; for three years he assisted W. FARRER in his wheat-improvement program at Lambrigg, near Canberra; while experimentalist at Bathurst Experiment Farm in 1904-06, PRIDHAM began an oat-breeding program; he continued the work for 40 years, concentrating on developing varieties with early maturity, less tillering and better adapted to wheat belt conditions; in 1906-1908 he was assistant manager at Cowra Experiment Farm, then worked with the Victorian Department of Agriculture in 1908-1911; at Longerenong Agricultural College, Victoria (Australia), in a plot of Algerian, the dominant oat variety in Australia, PRIDHAM selected an earlier maturing plant which became the variety “Sunrise” and the most popular oat in New South Wales; other varieties developed in later years included “Belar” (his most successful variety), “Mulga”, “Guyra”, “Lampton”, “Lachlan”, and “Weston”; he was probably the first to carry out crossbreeding in oats in Australia and laid the foundation of oat improvement; as plant breeder at Cowra Experiment Farm, New South Wales in 1911-1944, PRIDHAM also continued the wheat-improvement program started by FARRE; his first notable variety was “Canberra”, selected and released in 1914 at Wagga Wagga Experiment Farm from a cross made by R. J. HURST, which proved a satisfactory early maturing variety for dry areas of the wheat-belt and for late sowing in good rainfall areas; he also developed the hard, translucent variety, “Hard Federation” (1914), which demonstrated that it was possible to combine moderately good baking quality and satisfactory yield in an Australian wheat; noting the drought resistance of the old wheat variety, “Steinwedel”, he crossed it with ”Thew” to produce “Bobin” in 1925; other notable varieties made significant contributions to the wheat industry included “Dundee”, “Gular”, “Aussie”, “Wandilla”, “Union”, ”Bena”, “Baringa”, and “Clarendon”; he also did important pioneering work on barley on lines imported from North Africa; PRIDHAM was in charge of all cereal improvement work carried out at the various research stations until the formation of the plant-breeding branch in 1938 >>> WATERHOUSE, W. L.

RAATZ, W. (1864-1919); a German sugarbeet breeder in Kleinwanzleben (German); he developed efficient selection methods for increasing yield and sugar content in sugarbeet by classification of E (= high yielding and normal sugar content), N (= normal yielding and normal sugar type) , Z (= high sugar type and normal yielding) and ZZ types (= very high sugar type and normal yielding)

RATCHINSKY, T. (1929-1980); a Bulgarian wheat breeder working for long at the Institute of Wheat and Sunflower, General Toshevo/Varna (Bulgaria); born at Vratsa (Bulgaria) he started his career at the Agricultural Institute in Sofia (Bulgaria) till he was appointed in 1957 at the Agricultural Institute,  Knesha, Bulgaria, and in 1963 at the Institute of Wheat and Sunflower, General Toshevo; he bred important winter wheat varieties for Bulgaria, such as ‘Rusalka’, ‘Jubilje’, ‘Ogosta’, ‘Rubin’, ‘Sharodejka’, ‘Dobrudja 1’, ‘Ludogorka’, ‘Vega’, ‘Slatija’ etc., which serve still as important gene pool

RIMPAU, W. (1842-1903); a German agronomist and breeder working in Schlanstedt (Germany); he elaborated important scientific and practical fundamentals of cereal breeding; he described for the first time the self-sterility of rye; he was first producing in 1888 a fertile octoploid wheat-rye hybrid which can be taken as the birth of the triticale research; he already knew that in 1876 the botanist A. S. WILSON had presented stalks of two wheat-rye hybrid plants produced by him in 1875 to the Edinburgh (UK) Botanical Society; he mentioned also  attempts on production of wheat-rye hybrids by BESTEHORN and by CARMAN (1882)

ROEMER, T. (1883-1951); a German agronomist with strong contributions to plant breeding at the university of Halle/S. (Germany); he initiated the utilization of statistic tests in agricultural and breeding  research, programs on resistance and quality breeding in cereals; under his guidance more the twenty varieties of winter wheat, spring wheat, winter barley, spring barley, oats pea were developed

ROSEN, J. A. (1877-1949); he was born in Moscow; he studied agronomic sciences in Russia and Germany; he was exiled to Siberia for his political involvement with the Russian Social-Democratic Party (Mensheviks); in 1903 he emigrated to the United States; he completed his agronomic training here; Joseph A. ROSEN gained international renown in the field of agriculture after he developed a new variety of winter rye which was named ROSEN’s rye after him and which was widely used by U.S. farmers; when he was a Russian student at Michigan Agricultural College in 1908, he was sent for the original rye seed to his father back in his homeland; successive selections of desirable plant were made in this population by F. A. SPRAGG, and, in 1912, the first bushel of ROSEN’s rye went from Michigan station to Carleton Herren of Albion; at that time, probably the most famous of ROSEN’s rye growers were George and Louis HUTZLER of South Manitou Island in northern Lake Michigan; here, in perfectly isolated island fields, these growers were working with ROSEN’s rye of the finest, purest stock; other growers could renew their supplies when cross pollination contaminated their seed crop; during the beginning of the 20th century ROSEN’s rye was grown world-wide; first in 1934, rye from Poland was again imported to USA in order to widen the spectrum of rye varieties and the gene pool of cropped rye; later he became an official of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; in the 1920s and 1930s he organized and coordinated relief activities for impoverished Jews in the former Soviet Union; Joseph ROSEN was a director of the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation (Agro-Joint) that tried to develop Jewish settlements and assisted with organization of Jewish factories, cooperatives, schools, and health care facilities

RÜMKER, K. von (1859-1940); a German agronomist who contributed very much to scientific agronomy in Germany and to the development of new crop varieties

SAVITSKY, V. F. (1902-1965); a Russian-born plant breeder; he emigrated after the 2nd World War to the USA; bred successfully monogerm beets; he is considered to be the father of monogermity of cultivated sugar beet

SEARS, E. R. (1910-1991); born in Bethel, Oregon (USA) he obtained his bachelors degree from the University of Oregon and graduated at Harvard University; he was appointed by USDA as a Research geneticist and started his long association with the University of Missouri in 1936 till his retirement in 1980; both by his theoretical and practical contributions he became the „father of wheat cytogenetics“; the discovery of a low level of female fertility in a wheat haploid and the recovery of aneuploid progeny led to the construction of a vast range of aneuploids that is unequaled in its versatility, practicality and creativity  in any other species known to man; he developed the concept that chromosomes from three species contributing their genomes to bread wheat, i.e., chromosome one of species A codes for functions that are similar to chromosome one of species B, and chromosome one of species B codes for functions that are similar to chromosome one of species D;  this concept of so-called homoeology  is now fundamental to perception of all allopolyploid species; since 1950 he changed the course of man’s manipulation  of crop plants by producing interspecific chromosome additions, substitutions and translocations; for the first time he was able to transfer a gene for leaf rust resistance from an alien chromosome into common wheat; his joint work with OKAMOTO led to deeper understanding of how genes regulate  chromosome pairing in polyploid wheat; the recognition of how homoeologous chromosomes are prohibited from pairing and thus immediately allowing a high degree of fertility in a polyploid plant became a cornerstone for modern chromosome manipulations; despite the influence on molecular genetics and biotechnology, his basic contributions to wheat cytogenetics heavily influenced crop genetics in general

SIZOV, I. A. (1900-1968); a Russian plant breeder, head of the VIR's Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding (Leningrad, Russia); from 1961-1962 he was Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

SKOVMAND, B. (1945-2007); he was born in Copenhagen (Denmark) and a highly respected and well-liked person internationally; he came to the University of Minnesota (USA) through a student agricultural training program in 1966; there he earned his B.Sc. M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees from the university in plant pathology. Sir Bent Skovmand, the Knight of Denmark, fought for the good of humanity up until his passing; his great engagement in his work within plant genetic resources and his participation in many aspects of Nordic and international work; with his great scientific knowledge and unique personality, he especially has left his mark in the scientific world within his two favorite areas, wheat breeding and plant genetic resources; the professional person with his strong commitment to big and central scientific issues; the empathic and rewarding colleague and boss; travelling from Denmark to U.S. on an exchange program, he spent some hard years financing his undergraduate studies in Minnesota on income from whatever job he could come across; but hard working, he advanced in biology and specialized in plant diseases, obtaining his Ph.D. in 1976; throughout his university years, jobs became more sophisticated, and his last years were financed through a Rockefeller scholarship; his first assignment was as a plant breeder at CIMMYT in Mexico working on the then novel triticale cereal; he became head of the program but later specialized in wheat and was in charge of the breeding program for wheat in Turkey, a UNDP project; back at CIMMYT, he became head of wheat breeding and the gigantic gene bank with its thousands of accessions; in this capacity, he developed into a leading figure fostering expansive international cooperation in wheat breeding: for him it was a logical next step and a great dream of his to continue his work with plant genes in a Nordic context, closer to Denmark and to give his family a closer relationship with this part of the world; when the opportunity arose in 2003, he was more than happy to grasp it; for the last four years of his working life, he was the director of the Nordic Gene Bank, situated in the southern part of Sweden, for agricultural and horticultural plants and, more importantly for him and his staff, their wild relatives; close to his heart were endeavors to secure the international dimension of the Gene Bank's work; development work for Southern Africa, the Baltic countries, and central Asia; he took a genuine pride in each step forward, most recently leading a very exciting effort to secure Nordic aromatic and herbal plants, collected by the Gene Bank in their natural habitat and at old and nearly forgotten spots in the cultural landscape in far away villages; he was repaid handsomely for his high professional standard by the international scientific community; for a number of years, prestigious awards in the U.S. for his publications; a long list of honors from his alma mater the University of Minnesota; and the most recent award this year, membership in the most impressive scientific academies and a number of medals; in 2005, he received the international Crop Science Award; that same year, the Agricultural University of Copenhagen, Denmark, awarded him an honorary post as professor

SOMORJAI, F. (1900-1981); he retired as a director of the Cereal Research Institute, Szeged, Hungary; born in Nagykoeroes he took a degree in agriculture in Keszthely and Budapest (Hungary); in 1927 he moved to the Cereal Research Institute, Szeged, Hungary;  he took part on first Hungarian experiments on rice production; he bred the  Szegedi Yellow Dent Corn, Szegedi Angustifoliate Blue-grass, Szegedi Wheat-grass, Ujszegedi Winter Oat etc.STEINER, K. (1897-1980); a German maize breeder working in Bernburg (Germany)

STRAMPELLI, N. (1866-1942); a famous Italian breeder; his wheat varieties “Ardito”, “Mentana”, “Villa Glori”, “Damiano” and “San Pastore” were distributed around the world prior to the “Green Revolution”

STRUBE, F. (1847-1897); a German agronomist and breeder working in Schlanstedt (Germany); he bred several wheat, oat and rye varieties; he founded one of the most successful breeding companies which is still active in Germany

STUBBE, H. (1902-1989); a German geneticist who contributed very much to mutation research and its application in plant breeding; he became the first director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Crop Plant Research in Vienna (Austria); that institute was transferred after the 2nd world war to Germany near Gatersleben; based on this institute the further Institute of Crop Plant Research Gatersleben (Germany) was established; one of the main ideas was to establish a world crop plant collection (later called: genebank) and its utilization for breeding approaches

TAVKAR, A. (1895-1979); since 1922 he was head of the Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding of Agricultural Faculty, University of Zagreb (Croatia); during his fruitful life he was occupied with research on maize, wheat, barley, rye and some other crops; soon, he recognized the importance of plant resistance to certain wheat diseases (1927) and winter hardiness (1929 - 1930) for stable grain production; he was studying the relation between morphological and some physiological characteristics of wheat plant (1930 - 1934); between the two World Wars, by means of individual selection from the cultivar “Sirban Prolific” he released the cultivar “Maksimirski Prolifik 39”, and by means of crossing and pedigree selection in segregating progeny, the cultivars “Maksimirska Brkulja 530”, “Maksimirska Brkulja 540” and “Maksimirska Brkulja 24”; those varieties were grown in the western part of Croatia and Bosnia between 1930 and 1959; in the fifties, he started a pioneer work in Yugoslavia on mutation breeding of crop plants; gamma-ray induced mutants, produced by 60Co irradiation, were tested under field conditions nationwide

TSCHERMAK VON SEYSENEGG, E. (1871-1962); an Austrian botanist botanist who in 1900, independent of, but simultaneously with, the biologists E. CORRENS and H. DE VRIES, rediscovered G. MENDEL’s historic paper on principles of heredity

VALLEGA, J. (1909-1978); born in Italy his scientific career started in 1931 at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) as a plant pathologist; from 1934-1943 he was head of the Phytotechnical Institute of Santa Catalina of the University of La Plata (Argentina); he pioneered research on the physiological specialization  of rusts on cereals and flax; in 1956 he founded „Robigo“, an Argentinian newsletter on rust diseases

VAVILOV, N. I. (1887-1943); a Russian plant geneticist born in Moscow (Russia); he studied at the Moscow Agricultural Institute (now: Timirjasev Academy of Agriculture); in 1907 he became appointed at the first Russian Agricultural Institute under the director RUDSINSKI; from 1911 to 1912 he was working at the Institute of Applied Botany in St. Petersburg, belong R. REGEL; from 1913 he visited several institutions in England, France and Germany; in 1917 became a professor of Genetics at the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Saratov (Russia);  by more than 100 collecting missions, expeditions and studies he came to the conclusion that the greatest variation in species occurs in certain restricted areas (centers of diversity), which he believed identified the regions in which those species originated (centers of origin); in 1927, those ideas were for the first time published during the International Congress of Genetics, at Berlin (Germany

VETTEL, F. (1894-1965); a successful German cereal breeder in Hadmersleben (Germany); some well known wheat varieties, such as Heines Teverson, Heine II, Heine IV or Heine VII, were bred by him

VRIES, H. DE (1848-1935); a Dutch botanist who in 1900, independent of, but simultaneously with, the biologists E. CORRENS and E. TSCHERMAK VON SEYSENEGG, rediscovered G. MENDEL’s historic paper on principles of heredity

VILMORIN, P.-L.-F. (1816-1860); he was a famous plant breeder; he was the first in France who improved sugar beet by continuous selection

VORONOV, Y.N. (1874-1931); a Russian geobotanist and taxonomist; expert in subtropical plant diversity; from 1918-1921 he was the director of Tiflis Botanical Gardens (Georgia); in 1925 he became a research scientist of the Institute of Applied Botany of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)

WARBURG, O. (1859-1938); a famous German taxonomist and plant geographer; he explored the tropical flora of South and East Asia; later in his career he became an expert on tropical agriculture and settlement in German colonies

WATSON, I. A. (1914-1986); an Australian wheat rust researcher and wheat breeder working for long at the University of Sydney also as teacher and administrator; the most important aspect of his research has been the development of theories and explanations for the origin of genetic variability in the wheat rust pathogen by asexual means; he also established the classification system for leaf and stem rust that are prevalent in Australia and New  Zealand; based on his studies he developed and implemented  the theory of multiple gene resistance as a means achieving lasting resistance to wheat rusts; his dream was to produce agronomically acceptable cultivars of wheat with a high degree of rust resistance and high baking quality; due largely to his vigilance and foresight, the rust liable wheat growing areas of Australia, in particular the North West of New South Wales (Australia) have not suffered any significant  loss from stem rust epidemic since 1956; as junior partner of W. WATERHOUSE he released since 1940 the varieties „Gabo“ (1945), „Kendee“ (1946), Saga (1951) and „Koda“ (1955); after 1960 under his leadership the varieties „Mendos“ (1964), „Gamut“ (1965), Timgalen“ (1967), „Gatcher“ (1969), „Songlen“ (1975), „Timson“ (1975) and „Shortim“ (1977) were registered; after his retirement in 1977 the varieties „Sunkota“ (1981), „Suneka“ (1982) and „Sunstar“ (1983) were released; as a matter of interest, the origin of „Sunstar“ goes back to his idea to create  a purple seeded feed wheat; however, the idea was not well  received by the industry and finally  white prime hard wheat variety was selected from that particular cross

WATSON, J. (1928-; an American scientist; together with F. CRICK he was able to show that the hereditary substance of the chromosomes is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

WEISMANN, A. (1834-1914); a German biologist had developed notions of the continuity of the inherited material (so-called „germplasm“) from generation to generation, thus suggesting that acquired characteristics are not inherited

WELLS, D. G. (1917-2005); an American winter wheat breeder at South Dakota State University since 1960 until his retirement in 1982; he received his doctoral degree from the Agronomy Department at the University of  Wisconsin in 1949, and worked as a winter wheat breeder at Mississippi State College in Starkville (USA);  in 1958, he accepted a work through the State Department in Washington, DC to be a member of a 10 man team to improve farm crops for the people of Nigeria; he released eight wheat varieties (“Hume”, “Winoka”, “Bronze”, “Gent”, “Rita”, “Nell”, “Rose”, and “Dawn”) and eight germplasm lines that carry resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus from intermediate wheatgrass

WETTSTEIN, F. VON (1895-1945); an Austrian botanist and geneticist working at the universities of Goettingen, Munich and Berlin; he promoted scientific plant breeding; one of the most important biologists in Germany

YATES, F. (1902-1994); was one of the pioneers of 20th century statistics, branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population parameters; in 1931 he was appointed as assistant statistician at Rothamsted Experimental Station (UK); in 1933 he became head of statistics when >>> R. A. FISHER obtained a position at University College London; at Rothamsted he worked on the design of experiments including contributions to the theory of analysis of variance, a statistical method for making simultaneous comparisons between two or more means; a statistical method that yields values that can be tested to determine whether a significant relation exists between variables and originating YATES' algorithm and the balanced incomplete block design; during he worked on what would later be called operational research; after the war he worked on sample survey design and analysis; he became an enthusiast of electronic computer, a machine for performing calculations automatically, in 1954 obtaining an “Elliott 401“ for Rothamsted and contributing to the initial development of statistical computing; is main contributions to experimental statisitics were: Contingency tables involving small numbers and the χ² test (1934), The design and analysis of factorial experiments (1937), Statistical tables for biological, agricultural and medical research (with R. A. FISHER, 1938), Systematic sampling (1948), Selection without replacement from within strata with probability proportional to size (with P. M. GRUNDY, 1953), and Sampling methods for censuses and surveys (1960); in 1966 he was awarded a Royal Medal from the Royal Society;  he retired from Rothamsted in 1968 and became a Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College

ZACHARIAS, M. (1927-1988); a German plant geneticist born in Halle/S. (Germany); he was working most time at the Zentralinstitut fuer Genetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung, Gatersleben (Germany); he was one among the first researchers carrying out mutation experiments in soybean; he ended up with a suitable mutant collection available for crossing and evaluation trials under conditions of Germany

ZHUKOVSKY, P.M. (1888-1975); a Russian botanist and wheat taxonomist; from 1915-1925 he worked at Tiflis Botanical Gardens (Georgia); from 1925 he was a research scientist of the Institute of Applied Botany (Leningrad, Russia); from 1951-1965 was appointed as Director of VIR (Leningrad, Russia)



Kimber, G., 1983, Gallery of Cereal Workers – Ernest Robert Sears. Cer. Res. Comm. 11, 175-178

Coffman, W. R., 1982, Gallery of Cereal Breeders – Neal F. Jensen. Cer. Res. Comm. 10, 247-257

Schlegel, R., 2007, Concise Encyclopedia of Crop Improvement : Institutions, Persons, Theories, Methods, and Histories, (ISBN: 978-1-56022-146-3),  Haworth Press, New York, London, Oxford, USA, pp 331

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