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June 5, 2023
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Vavilov's Ghost
Produced by: Neenah Ellis
Some call him the father of modern plant genetics, a direct descendent of Darwin, Linnaeus, and Mendel. He shook the world with his concept of biodiversity. He amassed the largest collection of seeds, some 250,000 collections from all over the world, and when he died in 1943, his theories had transformed not only genetics, but botany, agronomy, geography, and anthropology. Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov was Russian geneticist pioneered what now seems like a very obvious theory: in order to breed better crops we need to study and use the total genetic diversity of the crops themselves. He collected seeds from all over the world to use in breeding programs: seeds which are stored and maintained to this day. Scholars call him the most distinguished plant breeder of his generation. "Vavilov's Ghost" is the story of a genius who used to tell his staff "Life is short, one must hurry." Join producer Neenah Ellis as she travels to St. Petersburg, and explores the world's oldest seed bank, its intellectual legacy, and the roots of what we now call biodiversity.


N.I.Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
an Institute of the CGIAR

HempCyberFarm Vavilov Institute

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Botanical Society of Americ

Biography of Nikolai I. Vavilov

The Vavilov Affair
Mark Aleksandrovich Popovski

Origin, Variation, Immunity and Breeding of Cultivated Plants: Phytogeographic Basis of Plant Breeding
N. I. Vavilov K. Starr Chester (Translator)

Origin and Geography of Cultivated Plants
N.I. I. Vavilov A. A. Filatenko (Translator)

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Programs by Neenah Ellis

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