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Gregor Mendel, Genetic Inheritance

Gregor Mendel played a huge role in the underlying principles of genetic inheritance. Gregor was born, July 22 1822 in Heinzendorf, Austrian Silesia (now known as Hyncice, Czech Republic), with the name Johann Mendel. He changed his name to Gregor in 1843. He grew up in an Augustinian brotherhood and he learned agricultural training with basic education. He then went on to the Olmutz Philosophical Institute and later entered the Augustinian Monastery in 1843.

After 3 years of theological studies, Mendel went to the University of Vienna, where 2 professors influenced him; the physicist Doppler and a botanist named Unger. Here he learned to study science through experimentation and aroused his interest in the causes of variation in plants. He returned to Brunn in 1854 where he was a teacher until 1868. Mendel died January 6 1884. In 1857, Mendel began breeding garden peas in the abbey garden to study inheritance, which lead to his law of Segregation and independent assortment.

Mendel observed several characteristics of the garden peas which include: plant height (tallness/shortness), seed color (green/yellow), seed shape (smooth/wrinkled), seed-coat color (gray/white), pod shape (full/constricted), od color (green/yellow), and flower distribution (along length/ at end of stem). Mendel keep careful records of his experiments and first reported his findings at a meeting of the Brunn Natural History Society. The results of Mendel’s work were published in 1866 as “Experiments with Plant Hybrids” in the society’s journal.

Mendel’s Law of Segregation stated that the members of a pair of homologous chromosomes segregate during meiosis and is distributed to different gametes. This hypothesis can be divided into four main ideas. The first idea is that alternative versions of genes account for variations n inherited characters. Different alleles will create different variations in inherited characters. The second idea is that for each character, an organism inherits two genes, one for each parent.

So that means that a homologous loci may have matching alleles, as in the true-breeding plants of Mendel’s P generation (parental). If the alleles differ, then there will be F hybrids. The third idea states that if the two alleles differ, the recessive allele will have no affect on the organism’s appearance. So an F hybrid plant that has purple flowers, the dominant allele will be the purple-color allele and the recessive llele would be the white-color allele. The idea is that the two genes for each character segregate during gamete production.

Independent assortment states that each member of a pair of homologous chromosome segregates during meiosis independently of the members of other pairs so that alleles carried on different chromosomes are different distributed randomly to the gametes. Mendel’s work was not recognized right away as an important scientific breakthrough. In 1868 Mendel was promoted to abbot at the monastery and gave up his experiments. Aside from his fellow monks and his students his work was ignored. In fact he importance of Mendel’s work was not discovered until 1900, sixteen years after his death.

His work was discovered by three European scientists: Hugo De Vries, Carl Correns, and Erich Tschermak, working independently as they preformed their own similar experiments. They credited Gregor Mendel as the discoverer of the laws of heredity. In conclusion, Mendel’s work was very important to the science community, and is to this day being studied. All his work was done without himself ever receiving credit while he was alive. His laws of heredity are still used today and he now has received credit as the discoverer of the laws of heredity.

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