Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Simple Vegetable Garden ~ So Important in History

How many of you learnt about genetics at school? I was so amazed today when asked to type out some information for my son about Gregor Johann Mendel from our encyclopedia so he could use it in his project. He isn't near the book hence the typing.

Gregor Johan Mendel (1822-1884), an Austrian botanist and monk, formulated the basic laws of heredity. His experiments with the breeding of garden peas led to the development of the science of genetics.

Mendel was born in Heinzendort, Austria. His parents were poor peasants. Mendel was an excellent student, and he decided to become a teacher. Many teachers at that time were priests. Therefore, in 1843, at the age of 21, Mendel entered the monastery of St. Thomas in Brunn, Austria. He came a priest in 1847.

The monastery was a scientific as well as a religious centre, and Mendel was exposed to many scholars there. In 1851, the monastery sent him to study science and mathematics at the University of Vienna. He returned to the monastery in 1853 and taught biology and physics at a local high school for the next 14 years. Mendel's fame came from his research in the monastery garden during those years.

In his experiments, Mendel studied the inheritance of seven pairs of traits in the garden pea plants and in their seeds. These pairs included (1) rounded or wrinkled seeds and (2) tall or short plants.

Mendel's results were published in 1866, but they remained unnoticed for 34 years. (World Book Encyclopedia)

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