Genetics - Mendel

Gregor Mendel is considered to be the father of genetics. In the late 1800’s, he discovered the principles of modern genetics and established the laws of heredity that are applicable today. His discoveries did not only help us understand how biological traits passed from one generation to the next, they also provided a mechanism that explains evolution.


Mendel was born to a farming family in Austria. He completed his schooling and then joined the Church. This gave him the opportunity to further his studies at University. He focussed on physics and mathematics at University. Upon graduating, Mendel moved to anmonastery in Brno (in modern-day Czech republic). It was here that, in the midst of his monastic duties, that her carried out experiments in plant breeding.

What Mendel did

Mendel examined the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants. He was methodical in his approach and carefully documented his findings. He then appliedmathematical and statistical models to explain his data. Here’s a summary of his work and findings:

Mendel examined the inheritance of seven distinct traits in pea plants. Each of these these traits came in one of two forms. For example, one of the traits the Mendel examined was plant height. Pea plants were either tall or short, and it was easy to distinguish between those forms. In modern genetics, the forms or physical appearances are called phenotypes.

Before commencing on his experiments, Mendel developed a large population of pea plants

Sham Nair 2014