Gregor J. Mendel - Genetics Founding Father

June 2014
Czech Journal of Genetics & Plant Breeding;2014, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p43
Academic Journal
Mendel's impact on science is overwhelming. Although based on the number of scientific papers he published he might be considered a meteorologist, his most significant contribution is his study of plant hybrids. This single work puts Mendel on a par with Darwin's evolutionary theory and establishes him firmly in the frame of today's biology. The aim of this article is to introduce the personality of Gregor Johann Mendel, focussing not just on his scientific work, but also on his background and what or who influenced him. To understand Mendel's use of quantification and mathematical analysis of obtained results, representing a radical departure from methods of his predecessors, it is important to know something about their arguments, beliefs, and practices. He designed his experiments to answer a long standing question of hybridization, not inheritance as we perceive it today, since the science of genetics was born considerably later. He studied many genera of plants, but his famous research was on garden peas. To choose a single species for his crosses was fundamental to his success, but also fuelled most of criticism at the time he presented his results. The reason for his success was partly due to being a hybrid himself: of a biological scientist, a physical scientist and a mathematician. Mendel's other fields of interest such as meteorology and bee keeping are also introduced in this article.


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