What are some facts about Gregor Mendel?


Quick Answer

Austrian monk Gregor Mendel discovered the principles of heredity that became the foundation of modern genetics. His experiments in his monastery's garden demonstrated the exchange of characteristics between pea plants.

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Full Answer

Mendel was born on July 22, 1822 on his parent's farm in Austria. He lived in a rural environment until he was 11. Throughout his education, he awed scholars with his high level of aptitude for most subjects. Sadly, Mendel's education took longer than expected because he suffered from deep depression for long periods.

Mendel did not take over his father's farm as expected. Instead, he joined the Augustinian order at the St. Thomas Monastery in Brno to become a monk. Mendel failed his teaching certification exam in 1851. Nevertheless, the monastery offered him a secondary school teaching position in 1853.

Mendel's experiments with pea plants allowed him to hypothesize that heredity is statistically predictable. He established the law of segregation, which theorized that dominant and recessive traits are passed on at random. He also discovered the law of independent assortment, which established that traits are passed to offspring independent of one another.

Mendel published his findings regarding heredity under the title "Experiments on Plant Hybrids" in the Natural Science Society's journal. The experimental findings did not reach a large audience, nor did they make a significant impact until several decades after his death. Mendel died on January 6, 1884. His body is buried in his monastery's burial plot.

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