Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gregor Johann Mendel - born July 20th 1822

191 years ago, the father of modern genetics Gregor Johann Mendel was born on July 20th in a small village of Hynčice (now part of Czech city of Vražné).

Gregor Johan Mendel - image from BHL.

Mendel came from a German family and since his early childhood he was interested in nature and even studied beekeeping. At the age of 18, Mendel started his studies of philosophy and physics at the University of Olomouc. Later, he trained as a priest and took over the name Gregor. At that time, Mendel published several works on meteorology and founded the Austrian Meteorological Society in 1865. He also spent several years at the University in Vienna.

European Honey Bee by Richard Bartz - image is under CC BY-SA of EoL.

In 1867, Mendel became an abbot of a Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno. There, he started his research and experiments on plant hybridisation and also bred bees. To conduct the research, Mendel cultivated and bred thousands of pea plants and experimented also with bees. As a result of his experiments, Mendel formulated basic principles of inheritance, today known as Mendel´s Laws of Inheritance. However, the importance of Mendel's contribution to science was recognized only after his death.  

Pea (Pisum sativum) - image is under CC BY-NC of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Read Mendel´s book from Biodiversity Heritage Library here. Stay tuned!