Gregor Mendel

Gregor Johann Mendel was born on July 22, 1822, in Heinzendorf, Austria (now Hyncice, Czech Republic). He studied the inheritance of traits in pea plants, discovering the basic laws of inheritance. He is often called the father of genetics.

During his childhood Mendel worked as a gardener, and as a young man attended the Olmutz Philosophical Institute. In 1843 he entered an Augustinian monastery in Brno. He was later sent to the University of Vienna to study.

By both his professors at University and his colleagues at the monastery, Mendel was inspired to study variance in plants. He commenced his study in his monastery's experimental garden. Between 1856 and 1863 Mendel cultivated and tested some 28,000 pea plants. His experiments brought forth two generalizations which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Inheritance.

Mendel read his paper, Experiments on Plant Hybridization, at two meetings of the Natural History Society of Brunn in Bohemia in 1865. When Mendel's paper was published in 1866 in Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Brunn, it had little impact. It was not until the early 20th century that the importance of his ideas was realized. In 1900, his work was finally rediscovered by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak and was contributory to the modern synthesis in evolutionary biology.

Mendel died January 6, 1884 in Brno, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic).

See also: Trofim Lysenko, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Darwin

Further reading

  • Robin Marantz Henig, Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics, Houghton Mifflin, May, 2000, hardcover, 292 pages, ISBN 0395977657; trade paperback, Houghton Mifflin, May, 2001, ISBN 0618127410

External Links


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