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Vavilov’s law of homologous series at the fiftieth anniversary of its formulation


The law of homologous series was formulated by N. I. Vavilov in 1920. TheJournal of Genetics published Vavilov’s paper in 1922. This law established a parallel variability of homologous characters in taxonomically near species. Now it must be extended, including also a parallel variability of similar homologous characters in taxonomically remote species. Each similarity among biologic species is a cause of homologous parallel variability in corresponding characters. Vavilov showed that a variability of intraspecific genes is controlled by the genotype of species. This genotype is composed of stable species radical (interspecific genes) and of labile intraspecific genes. Vavilov’s basic concept of homologous variability retains its viability. The law of homologous series is one of the fundamental laws of genetics.

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Correspondence to Alexander J. Kupzow.

Additional information

Editors of Economic Botany welcome this review of Vavilov’s Law of Homologous Series, written by a student and collaborator of Vavilov. After a half century from its formulation this law is still actively discussed among geneticists and plant breeders. Today the parallelism in variation patterns in plants and animals is studied with modern biogenetical methods and described with precision exceeding that possible during Vavilov’s time. It turns out that plants and animals vary in similar ways when subjected to similar selection pressures.

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Kupzow, A.J. Vavilov’s law of homologous series at the fiftieth anniversary of its formulation. Econ Bot 29, 372–379 (1975).

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