The influence of Lysenkoism on China’s genetics : the importance of the 1956 Qingdao symposium
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Long, Alice R. Chase, 1953-
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In 1956, prompted by Mao Zedong himself, the Qingdao symposium was convened to bring together scientists with training in "Morgan-Mendel" genetics and scientists following the Michurin school. The effects of government policy to this time had excluded the mostly western-trained geneticists from sharing their training, their skilled imagination and expertise, i n building China's agriculture. Michurin genetics, sponsored by Stalin's support of Lysenko since the 1940s, was based on the hypotheses that environmental influences were primary, including the idea of inheritance of acquired Characteristics. A study of Soviet influence is pertinent to understanding the importance of the 1956 Qingdao symposium. Doubts were already being voiced in China concerning the validity and sincerity of Soviet dictates and the quality of the advice being given in several realms of Soviet influence. This essay focuses on this event, which introduced a time of free discourse between these two ways of defining how to improve agricultural production, the Morgan-Mendel and the Michurinist.