1062-3604/04/3506- © 2004
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2004, p. 345. Translated from Ontogenez, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2004, p. 424.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2004 by the Editorial Board.
The 3rd Congress of the Vavilov Society of Genetics
and Selectionists “Genetics in the 21st Century: Cur-
rent State and Perspectives of Development” was held
in Moscow on June 6–12, 2004.
The memorial session dedicated to the centenary of
Academician Boris L. Astaurov, the ﬁrst president of
the Vavilov Society, was organized within the frame-
work of the congress. It was chaired by Academician
S.G. Inge-Vechtomov. At this session, the paper “Aca-
demician Boris L. Astaurov—an Outstanding Scientist
and Citizen” was presented by N.P. Bochkov, member
of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.
In his paper, N.P. Bochkov noted that B.L. Astaurov
made a great contribution to the development of Soviet
genetics and cytogenetics and to the solution of funda-
mental problems of current biology.
While being a student and then a postgraduate stu-
dent, Astaurov gave his mind to studies of animal
genetics in the laboratory of S.S. Chetverikov at the
Institute of Experimental Biology headed by
N.K. Kol’tsov. He took part in the common laboratory
work on evolutionary genetics and carried out some
very important investigation on phenogenetics of
. He was one of the founders of this trend in
Astaurov’s studies were carried on the silkworm and
they brought Astaurov an international reputation.
Development of the methods of artiﬁcial parthenogen-
esis and androgenesis allowed Astaurov, ﬁrst in the
world, to solve the important problem of genetics and
selection, sex regulation in animals. He also used these
methods for raising unique nucleocytoplasmic and,
ﬁnally, tetraploid hybrids of silkworm capable of repro-
ducing in a series of generation. Many of these studies
became classic and were included in textbooks and
manuals on genetics, cytogenetics, and general biology.
While dealing with these, seemingly, very speciﬁc
problems, Astaurov remained a scientist of wide proﬁle
and was solving essential general biological problems.
He continued the line, from which he had begun his sci-
entiﬁc activity, and namely: studies of phenogenetics of
ontogenesis. In 1967, he organized the Institute of
Developmental Biology aimed at studying the patterns
of development and the role of hereditary factors in
development. Already after Astaurov’s death, the Insti-
tute was given the name of Nikolai K. Kol’tsov, the ﬁrst
and main teacher of Astaurov. In this way, the time link
was restored and the principles laid down by
N.K. Kol’tsov for the Institute of Experimental Biology
received further development.
In his paper, N.P. Bochkov stressed also that Astau-
rov lived at the time difﬁcult for biology and also for
Russia, when the accepted moral norms were deﬁed
and when the man should have a great courage to
remain just a decent man. Despite all this, Astaurov was
not only the man of honor but also left behind classical
works on experimental biology and genetics, which did
not lose their theoretical and practical signiﬁcance to
present day. He fought with ardor for restoration of
genetics after the dark Lysenkoist period, took part in
the organization of the Society of Geneticists and
Selectionists, and became its ﬁrst president in 1966.
Astaurov was greatly respected not only in this
country, but also abroad for his sense of responsibility
for the fate of Russian science, public spirit, and great
contribution to international cooperation. Astaurov had
a great erudition, faultless honesty, goodwill, and
charm, which attracted people to him.
Session Dedicated to the Centenary of B. L. Astaurov
TO THE CENTENARY
OF BORIS L. ASTAUROV