Mendelism – Father of Genetics – Gregor Johann Mendel (1822 – 1884)



The contribution of Mendel to Genetics is called Mendelism. It includes all concepts brought out
by Mendel through his original research on plant hybridization. Mendelian genetic concepts
are basic to modern genetics. Therefore, Mendel is called as Father of Genetics.

Father of Genetics – Gregor Johann Mendel (1822 – 1884)

The first Geneticist, Gregor Johann
Mendel unraveled the mystery of
heredity. He was born on 22nd July
1822 in Heinzendorf Silesia (now Hyncice, Czechoslovakia ) ,Austria. After school education, later he studied botany, physics and
mathematics at the University of Vienna.He then entered a monastery of St.Thomas at Brunn in Austria and continued his interest in plant hybridization.In 1849 Mendel got a temporary position in a school as a teacher and he performed a series of elegant experiments with pea plants
in his garden.

In 1856, he started his historic
studies on pea plants. 1856 to 1863 was the period of Mendel’s hybridization experiments on pea plants. Mendel discovered the principles of heredity by studying the inheritance of seven pairs of contrasting traits of pea plant in his

Mendel crossed and catalogued 24,034
plants through many generations. His paper entitled “Experiments on Plant Hybrids” was presented and published in The Proceedings of the Brunn Society of Natural History in 1866.Mendel was the first systematic researcher in the field of genetics.

Mendel was successful because:
• He applied mathematics and statistical methods to biology and laws of probability to his breeding experiments.
• He followed scientific methods and kept accurate and detailed records that include quantitative data of the outcome of his crosses.
• His experiments were carefully planned and he used large samples.
• The pairs of contrasting characters which were controlled by factor (genes)were present on separate chromosomes.
• The parents selected by Mendel were pure breed lines and the purity was tested by self crossing the progeny for many generations. Mendel’s Experimental System – The
Garden pea.

He chose pea plant because,

• It is an annual plant and has clear
contrasting characters that are controlled by a single gene separately.
• Self-fertilization occurred under normal conditions in garden pea plants. Mendel used both self-fertilization and cross- fertilization.
• The flowers are large hence emasculation and pollination are very easy for hybridization.

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