Gregor Mendel contributed to the field of heredity by discovering that certain traits are inherited and passed along to successive generations. Mendel performed multiple studies, using sweet peas as his subjects, over a period of several years to examine the transfer of traits from one generation to the next. Mendel ultimately discovered that traits are indeed passed along from parents to offspring; some traits remain dominant over time, while others are recessive.
Mendel served concurrently as a monk, gardener and scientist. When not attending to his religious duties or tending to his own garden, Mendel spent his spare time in his laboratory experimenting on the transfer of genes. He used peas as subjects because they were readily available, and proved to be much more practical items to study than humans and animals. Mendel ultimately discovered that traits pass down through generations as dominant and recessive genes; his works generated a flurry of activity in the field of genetics and heredity, as fellow researchers and scientists raced to replicate results in other species, including plants and animals, for the purposes of verifying Mendel’s results. Mendel’s studies took eight years to complete and included analysis of over 300,000 individual plants; his findings ultimately gave rise to the first of several laws of heredity.