Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gregor Johann Mendel

Gregor Johann Mendel Gregor
Johann Mendel was born in Heinzendorf, a village near the border between northern Moravia and Silesia, in Austrian Empire on July 22, 1822. He was an Augustinian priest and scientist, and is often called the father of genetics for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants. In 1851 he was sent to the University of Vienna to study, returning to his abbey in 1853 as a teacher, principally of physics.

Mendel began his experiments with the hybrid cultivation of pea plants in 1856. After spending eight years carrying out experimental work in the monastery garden, he reported on the results of his observations at the meetings of the Association for Natural Research in Brno on the evenings of February 8th and March 8th, 1865. His experiments brought forth two generalizations which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Inheritance.

Mendel's attraction to research was based on his love of nature. He was not only interested in plants, but also in meteorology and theories of evolution. Mendel often wondered how plants obtained atypical characteristics. On one of his frequent walks around the monastery, he found an atypical variety of an ornamental plant. He took it and planted it next to the typical variety. He grew their progeny side by side to see if there would be any approximation of the traits passed on to the next generation. He found that the plants' respective offspring retained the essential traits of the parents, and therefore were not influenced by the environment. This simple test gave birth to the idea of heredity.
Gregor Johann Mendel
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