A Biography of Mendel

Johann Gregor Mendel

Mendel's Abbatical Coat of Arms

JOHANN Gregor Mendel was born in Hyncice (in what is now the Czech Republic) on July 22, 1822.

In 1843, at the age of 21, Mendel became a friar at the Augustinian monastery in Brno, Czechoslovakia, a center of learning whose members studied theology, philosophy and natural sciences. Like many other young men at the time, he found security and an education at the monestary. From 1868 until his death, Mendel was the abbot of the monastery.

Around this time, Mendel was experimenting with flowers in the monastery's gardens, trying to develop new color variations. It was these experiments that led to his experiments in hybridisation. But Mendel was not alone in his field... ever since humans began domesticating plants and animals (at least 10,000 years ago), we wondered how traits were passed from parent to offspring. One belief was that traits were stored as 'particles' in the parts of each parent's body and 'blended' in the offspring. This theory left many questions untackled, however.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists tried to unravel these questions, but their means returned inconclusive results. Unlike the others, Mendel studied only one trait at a time. Because of this, he was the first to be able to describe the relations between parents and children with mathematical symbols.

On January 6, 1884 Gregor Mendel passed away. Although many say that it wasn't until 1900, sixteen years after his death, that his papers were rediscovered, it has since been found that many botanists quoted his work ever since 1867, two years after its publication.

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