Le dossier Vavilov

Michèle DEBRENNE & Françoise DEBRENNE

fr Comptes Rendus Palevol 2 (6-7) - Pages 383-395

Published on 30 November 2003

This article is a part of the thematic issue Les chemins de l’Évolution : sur les pas de Steven Jay Gould

Vavilov’s dossier

Gould revived the memory of N.I. Vavilov, a victim of the Stalinian system and misjudged among occidental evolutionists. His contribution is impressive in applied research (phytogeography, his list of world-wide plant resources, a unique collection of germplasms intact and always available) as well as in theoretical research work on artificial selection, immunitary relationships between parasite and plant, the bases of his Law of homologous series in hereditary variations, and centers of origin of cultivated plants. Darwinian concept of natural selection were essential for him, but he considered that the evolutionary changes were not only produced by random variations, but by preset channels, recognising the internal constraints of heredity. His heritage has always been maintained in his Institutes. His Evolutionary theories are now confirmed by molecular genetics and systematics. S.J. Gould was the first to revive Vavilov’s memory and scientific importance. During his studies on the gastropod Cerion Gould recognised the balance between external and internal constraints in Evolution.


Homologous series, origin centers, dispersion, Darwinian theories, evolution

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