The Situation in Biological Science, 168-169 (1948)
G A Babajanyan
Rye, as is known, is a strict cross-pollinator; isolation leads to utter sterility, and inbreeding to depression in the progeny. In one of the experiments that we have been conducting at our Institute for the past three years and more, self-fertilizing rye plants in isolators were given the pollen of spring wheat. In a number of cases this led to a heightened grain formation. In 1948 one plant by this method showed 20% of grain development compared with only 1% in the case of pure inbreeding; another plant showed 22% of grain development in the presence of foreign pollen and 0 under pure inbreeding; a third plant showed 24% and 0; other cases showed 33% and 2%, 39% and 0, 48% and 0, and 54% and 0. This is the highest figure we have obtained. Thus, such strict cross-pollinators like rye, which produce no seeds with ordinary inbreeding, produce them under the influence of foreign pollen.
But this is not the most important, although this in itself is an indication of the diminution of the depression of self-pollination. The important thing is that in plants produced in this way the depression of inbreeding is diminished, and in many cases it disappears in the progeny. From the point of view of the Mendelist-Morganists, researches of this kind lead to paradoxical phenomena.
The solution of the problem of inbreeding must proceed not through the absolute isolation of plants, but by breaking down this isolation by utilizing a foreign pollen which takes an incomplete part in the act of self-pollination. Nature abhors isolation and in an infinite number of ways creates pollen mixtures on the stigma of plants. This mutual influencing in the act of fertilization plays a part in the rise of viability of pure breeds in natural surroundings, plays a part in protecting strains and populations from the, destructive action of pure pollination, of inbreeding.
In conformity with the Michurin-Lysenko mentor theory, and bearing in mind the similarity of the reciprocal influence of the vegetative and sex cells, this phenomena may be regarded as the result of the action of the sex mentor. Quite 12 years ago, T. D. Lysenko uttered a warning against the employment of the absolute isolation method and denounced the Morganist theory of inbreeding, which for many years had hindered the solution of this problem. It is known that, according to this theory, inbreeding is merely a harmless factor which protects the genotype from the lethal and semi-lethal genes, the mission of which, for no accountable reason, is to kill the organisms, their own bearers.