ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2007, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 591–592. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2007.
Original Russian Text © the Editorial Board, 2007, published in Genetika, 2007, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 719–720.
On January 8, 2007 passed away Alexei Pavlovich
Akif’ev, professor, doctor of biological sciences, out-
standing scientist, talented teacher, brilliant lecturer
and popularizer of science.
Alexei Pavlovich Akif’ev was born on November
14, 1938. In 1956 he graduated with honors from high
school in a town of Balashikha near Moscow and was
admitted at the Second Medical Institute. As early as in
his ﬁrst year of studies, Akif’ev became keenly inter-
ested in genetics, which turned out to be his life-long
passion. Since 1957, he attended lectures of prominent
Soviet geneticists at the Moscow Society for Natural
Scientists (later, in 1978 through 2000, he was a deputy
chairman of the Genetic Section of this society). In
1963, he started postgraduate courses in genetics under
the guidance of Professor Dubinin. He received his can-
didate of science degree in 1967, defended doctoral dis-
sertation in 1986, and was given professorship in 1990.
Under Akif’ev’s supervision, 24 candidate and ﬁve
doctoral dissertations were defended. His former stu-
dents—geneticists and radiobiologists—are success-
fully working in many scientiﬁc institutions in Russia,
CIS countries, United States, Britain, Sweden, and
Israel. Scientiﬁc interests of Akif’ev were focused on
molecular organization and evolution of genomes of
higher plants and animals, mutagenesis, genetics of
aging, and eugenics.
For many years, Alexei P. Akif’ev headed research
in mutagenesis, ﬁrst at the Institute of General Genet-
ics, Russian Academy of Sciences (1965–1975) and
then at the Biological Department of the Institute of
Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences
(1975–1997). In 1997, he returned to the Vavilov Insti-
tute of General Genetics, where he worked as a princi-
pal researcher heading the Group of Mutagenesis.
Being a favorite student of Nikolai Dubinin, a leader
of the Russian school of genetics, Akif’ev made a great
contribution to understanding the mechanisms of struc-
tural mutagenesis in cells of higher organisms as well
as to the development of molecular and medical genet-
ics. His studies in evolutionary and radiation biology
attained international recognition. Together with Dubi-
nin and his followers, he has developed the theory of
stages and mechanisms of formation of gene and chro-
His special research interest was chromatin diminu-
tion in copepods. Since 1989, he headed studies of this
problem, which soon reached the international level.
Alexei P. Akif’ev was the ﬁrst both in and beyond Rus-
sia who related chromatin diminution to the problem of
redundancy of the eukaryotic genome. His publications
on the issue were awarded a prize of MAIK Nauka-
Interperiodica in 2006.
Since 1963, Akif’ev was engaged in teaching. He
gave lectures in the Second Medical Institute, Moscow
State University, University of Nizhni Novgorod, and
other educational institutions, in particular at the
Department of Biophysics of the Moscow Institute of
Engineering and Technologies for 28 years. He was a
professor at Dubna University and coauthored (with
S.I. Alikhanyan and L.S. Chernin) the university text-
Alexei Pavlovich Akif’ev actively participated in
public life. In his lectures, publications, and on TV, he
repeatedly emphasized the idea that the main cause of
the current difﬁcult position of Russia was empoverish-
ment of the Russian gene pool, which was a result of
the Communist rule, accompanied by wars and repres-
sions of the Russian people, and primarily of its histor-
ically formed elite.
Shortly after the events of 1991, Akif’ev wrote a
small book entitled
Genes, Man, and Society.
In Memory of Alexei Pavlovich Akif’ev