On November 20, 2015, Irina G. Moiseyeva passed away in Moscow, Russia, at age of
83 years. She was a well known leading researcher of the Laboratory of Animal
Comparative Genetics, N. I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics.
Her whole life was devoted to the science and the Institute of General Genetics,
where she worked after graduating from the Moscow State University in 1955.
In 1966, as a member of the Laboratory of Immunogenetics, she participated in the
XIII World Poultry Congress in Kiev, USSR, being responsible for arranging the
Soviet exposition, for which she was awarded a commemorative medal by the
Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR.
In 1971, under the supervision of Kh. F. Kushner, Irina defended her thesis for
the degree of Candidate of Biological Sciences on ‘Phenotypic and
genotypic variability of the egg quality traits in chickens’.
Afterwards, Irina worked in the Laboratory of Comparative Genetics at the
Institute of General Genetics, where she led research on the genetics of
domestic fowl and their primary wild ancestor Gallus gallus.
Over the 60 years of her career, she published more than 150 articles on the
origin, evolution, distribution, qualitative and quantitative genetics,
biochemical and molecular polymorphisms and morphological characteristics of
chickens. Irina gave particular attention to the issues of conservation of
genetic resources, firstly for Russian breeds as well as their history and
origins. A number of her studies were devoted to the principles of
classification of chicken breeds from which she set up a data bank describing
over 230 chicken breeds. Important aspects of Irina scientific work included the
popularising activities for the public, teachers and fanciers, aimed at creating
awareness for conservation of genetic resources of domestic animals.
Irina participated in the writing of several fundamental books published in
Russian, and in particular, the summarising work ‘Farm Animal Genetic
Resources: Rare and Endangered Breeds’ (1992), and a chapter entitled
‘Chicken breeds and their gene pool’ in the book
‘The Gene Pool of Farm Animals: Genetic Resources of Livestock
Irina was a principled person, with an active lifestyle, a member of the
All-Russian Society of Geneticists and Breeders (VOGIS). As a scientific
adviser, she was often involved in the activities of the All-Russian Society of
Poultry Fanciers. She took part in many meetings under the auspices of the World
Poultry Science Association and presented research both within Russia and abroad
(England, the Czech Republic, and Israel). It is thanks to her efforts that
Russia became a participant of the international research project AVIANDIV
(1999–2000), in which investigators from 21 countries tested 52
chicken populations at 25 microsatellite loci, including two Russian breeds.
She was an intelligent and keen conversationalist, distinguished by modesty and
tact, combined with kindness. The Russian poultry science community has lost one
of the patriarchs of farm animal genetics, and we will miss a friend and