Why the Rediscoverer Ended up on the Sidelines: Hugo De Vries's Theory of Inheritance and the Mendelian Laws

Stamhuis, Ida
January 2015
Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p29
Academic Journal
Eleven years before the 'rediscovery' in 1900 of Mendel's work, Hugo De Vries published his theory of heredity. He expected his theory to become a big success, but it was not well-received. To find supporting evidence for this theory De Vries started an extensive research program. Because of the parallels of his ideas with the Mendelian laws and because of his use of statistics, he became one of the rediscoverers. However, the Mendelian laws, which soon became the foundation of a new discipline of genetics, presented a problem. De Vries was the only one of the early Mendelians who had developed his own theory of heredity. His theory could not be brought in line with the Mendelian laws. But because his original theory was still very dear to him, something important was at stake and he was unwilling to adapt his ideas to the new situation. He belittled the importance of the Mendelian laws and ended up on the sidelines.


Related Articles

  • Vries, Hugo (Marie) de (1848 - 1935).  // Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography;2005, p1 

    Dutch botanist and geneticist who is best known for his rediscovery (simultaneously with Karl Correns and Erich Tschermak von Seysenegg) of Gregor Mendel's laws of heredity and for his studies of mutation.

  • The Paradigmatic Mendel at the Sesquicentennial of 'Versuche über Pflantzen-Hybriden': Introduction to the Thematic Issue. Peterson, Erik; Kampourakis, Kostas // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p1 

    The article presents an introduction to the issue in which the editors discusses articles contained within the issue on topics such as the work of geneticist Johann Gregor Mendel, early interpretations of Mendelism by 20th century scientists, and the reception of Mendelism within the Soviet Union.

  • Re-discovering Mendel: The Case of Carl Correns. Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p51 

    Carl Erich Correns (1864-1933) is remembered in the annals of science as one of the three botanists who re-discovered Mendel's laws. He can also, however, be regarded as one of the founding figures of classical genetics in Germany. Between 1894 and 1899 he carried out the crossing experiments...

  • Gregor Mendel.  // History Remembers Scientists of the Past;2000, p11 

    Profiles Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, early geneticist. Entrance to monastery; Experiments with plants; Hypothesis on existence of genes.

  • Mendel in the Modern Classroom. Smith, Mike; Gericke, Niklas // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p151 

    Mendel is an icon in the history of genetics and part of our common culture and modern biology instruction. The aim of this paper is to summarize the place of Mendel in the modern biology classroom. In the present article we will identify key issues that make Mendel relevant in the classroom...

  • The Battle Between the Biometricians and the Mendelians: How Sir Francis Galton's Work Caused his Disciples to Reach Conflicting Conclusions About the Hereditary Mechanism. Gillham, Nicholas // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p61 

    Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's cousin, had wide and varied interests. They ranged from exploration and travel writing to fingerprinting and the weather. After reading Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Galton reached the conclusion that it should be possible to improve the human stock through...

  • Mendel's Research Legacy in the Broader Historical Network. Orel, Vítězslav; Peaslee, Margaret // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p9 

    This historical narrative describes the foundation of education as established by J. A. Comenius (1592-1670). It explores the transfer of Comenius' tenets, utilized and modified through the years, up to their impact upon the ground-breaking experiments of G. Mendel (1822-1884), 'the father of...

  • Mendel in Genetics Teaching: Some Contributions from History of Science and Articles for Teachers. El-Hani, Charbel // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p173 

    School science descriptions about Mendel and his story are problematic because several statements that are controversial among historians of science are repeated over and over again as if they were established facts. Another problem is the neglect of other scientists working on inheritance in...

  • Mendel Lives: The Survival of Mendelian Genetics in the Lysenkoist Classroom, 1937-1964. Peacock, Margaret // Science & Education;Jan2015, Vol. 24 Issue 1/2, p101 

    The demise of Soviet genetics in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s has stood for many as a prime example of the damage that social and political dogmatism can do when allowed to meddle in the workings of science. In particular, the story of Trofim Lysenko's rise to preeminence and the fall of Mendelian...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics