ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2008, Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 751–752. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.
Original Russian Text © The Editorial Board, 2008, published in Genetika, 2008, Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 863–864.
Evgeny Vital’evich Anan’ev, a prominent Russian
geneticist, winner of the State Prize, Doctor of Biology,
died on January 10, 2008 after a severe illness. This was
in Johnston (Iowa, United States), where Anan’ev
headed a laboratory at the Pioneer Hi-Breed company.
E.V. Anan’ev started his way in science at the labo-
ratory of A.A. Prokofyeva-Belgovskaya. He came there
in 1964 as a laboratory assistant for V.M. Gindilis and
O.N. Kapitonova and soon entered the Biological Fac-
ulty of the Moscow State University. On graduating
from the University, Anan’ev was taken to the Radiobi-
ology Department in 1975 with the Kurchatov Institute
of Atomic Energy, and defended his candidate of sci-
ence dissertation on the position effect and dose com-
pensation of the X chromosome.
By that time, the advance in DNA cloning technique
initiated active research on the structure of eukaryotic
genes. One of the most important and widely recog-
nized discoveries of the Soviet molecular biology—the
mobile genetic elements,
named “jumping genes”—was made in this particular
ﬁeld. Anan’ev, who at that time worked at the labora-
tory headed by V.A. Gvozdev, participated in this
research together with N.A. Churikov and Yu.V. Il’in,
working at G.P. Georgiev’s lab. For this discovery, all
these scientists were awarded the State Prize of the
USSR in 1983.
In this integrated research project, Anan’ev con-
ducted in situ hybridization of the cloned and selected
repeated elements on polytene chromosomes and
noticed that the location of hybridization sites of one of
the ﬁrst of such elements,
, differed in the asyn-
aptic regions of a hybrid line. Discussion of these
results with the team of researchers participating in the
project made it clear that the obtained repeated ele-
ments were mobile genetic elements (jumping genes).
The subsequent experiments with pure parental lines
conﬁrmed that the distribution of repeated sequences in
these lines were initially essentially different. This was
the ﬁrst direct evidence of the mobility of these ele-
ments. Sequencing of the elements made it clear that
they contained terminal repeats. The structure of these
repeats suggested the potential mechanism underlying
their transposition. Thus, the retrotransposons, consti-
tuting a considerable part of the genome of all the
eukaryotic organisms, were discovered. The signiﬁ-
cance of retrotransposons in the organization and evo-
lution of eukaryotes is becoming clear only now.
In 1983, Anan’ev was invited to the Institute of Gen-
eral Genetics, USSR Academy of Sciences, to head the
Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics. Anan’ev was
sure that retrotransposons were a universal component
of the eukaryotic genomes and planned to commence a
systematic search for such elements in plants. Switch-
To the Memory of Evgeny Vital’evich Anan’ev (1947