What Is Gregor Mendel Famous For?

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Gregor Mendel is known for his discoveries in the study of heredity. He has been nicknamed "the father of modern genetics."

Johann Mendel was born in 1822 in what was then known as the Austrian Empire which eventually became the Czech Republic. Mendel joined the Augustinian monastery, where he was given the name Gregor. While there, he studied science and math at the monastery's library. Mendel had excelled in this areas during his education at the University of Olmutz. After failing an examination to obtain a teaching certificate, Mendel was sent by the monastery to study at the University of Vienna. After completing his studies, he returned to the monastery where he taught secondary school.

During his years teaching at the monastery, Gregor Mendel conducted experiments using plant hybrids for the purpose of researching the science of heredity. His experiments involved examining the traits of pea plants. These traits included characteristics such as flower color, seed shape, plant height and pod location, among others. After completing his work using plants, he conducted similar genetic experiments using honeybees. Mendel's experiments led to his Laws of Inheritance.

Mendel's work in genetics was not widely recognized until decades after his death. Before then, most scientists refused to accept Mendel's work, believing that hereditary traits were a result of an average from the parental genes, contradicting Mendel's results, which showed the existence of recessive and dominant traits. In the early 20th century, further research revealed the validity of Mendel's claims. Much of what is known today about genetics and heredity are a result of Mendel's work.