Remembered for directing the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, he also founded a political and scientific movement known as Lysenkoism that resulted in Soviet government control of agriculture and genetics research.
After studying at the Kiev Agricultural Institute, he published an important scientific article on vernalization (the ability of plants to bloom after exposure to cold temperatures).
In the early 1960s, several prominent Soviet scientists, including physicists Pyotr Kapitsa and Vitaly Ginzburg, publicly branded Lysenko's politically-motivated agricultural studies as pseudoscience.
He was born to peasants Oksana and Denis Lysenko in an agricultural region of what is present-day Ukraine.
Disagreeing with scientist Gregor Mendel's theory of genetics, he instead embraced the ideas of Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, a horticulture expert who studied hybridization.