Gregor Mendel (22 July 1822 – 6 January 1884) was a scientist, a botanist, a biologist and a monk of Austrian origin, who, when ordained as a religious, assumed the name Gregor Mendel.
He is known as the Father of Genetics, having discovered through experiments with plants the laws of gene inheritance from one generation to another, pioneering in this field.
However, their findings were discovered many years later, when after three decades scientists came to the same conclusions that Mendel had obtained in his garden of Brno’s ministry, and to which modern biology continues to study, under the name of the Mendel Laws.
Mendel was born in the town of Heinzendorf in Austria, present-day Czech Republic, on July 22, 1822, to a very poor farming family, made up of Anton Mendel, who had fought as a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars, and his wife Rosine Mendel , descendant of gardeners.
When Mendel was 11, a teacher advised his parents to send him to high school, to continue his education. With great effort from his parents, Mendel began his studies in Troppau, where he quickly excelled in his studies, graduating with honors in 1840.
Immediately, he continued his studies at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Olmsitz, from which he also graduated with great recognition scans in 1843, having excelled in scientific areas such as Mathematics and Physics.
The Monastery of Brno
That same year, Mendel entered the monastery of St. Thomas, located in Brno, where he joined the order of the Augustinians and changed his name to Gregor. At that time religious centers were centers of knowledge and research. Mendel devoted long hours of study in the library and tube access to his laboratories.
In 1849, due to a deterioration in his health, due to hard work in Brno, he was sent to Znaim, where he was appointed as Temporary Professor, but the following year when he took the examination to take up the post as such, he failed it, which is why in 1851 he was sent by the Monastery to the University of Vienna to continue his studies in Science.
At this University, Mendel had the opportunity to be a student of great eminences of the time as Christian Doppler, with whom he studied Mathematics and Physics, as well as with Franz Unger. He finally graduated in 1853 and returned to the monastery of Brno where he was appointed as a high school teacher.
In 1854, while in Brno teaching, Mendel began a series of experiments with plant hybrids, to track how certain traits were transmitted from one generation to another.
For his tests he decided to use peas, thanks to their rapid reproduction, as well as the wide variety of species. Mendel then set about crossing varieties of peas with well-defined and distinct features, mixing green and yellow seeds, corrugated with smooth, varieties of plants of different sizes.
After several years of observation, Mendel concluded that by mixing two pure varieties of plants, the resulting generation retains in appearance the traits of one of the two parents, christened by Mendel as dominant hereditary factors. This principle is known as the Law of Dominant Characters, and it forms what modern Biology calls the First Law of Mendel.
Mendel also observed that if hybrid individuals of that second generation are allowed to self-fertilize, the later generation will have 75% dominant traits, while 25% will be born with recessive hereditary factors, concluding that a difference from what Science believed until then, the hereditary traits of parents do not mix or merge, but secrete each other, appearing randomly in individuals and not in others.
This conclusion is known as the Segregation Act, considered the Second Law of Mendel. Mendel also realized that hereditary factors are transmitted from a generation independently, thus enacting what Biology known as the third Law of Mendel, called the Law of Independent Transmission.
Mendel believed that his discoveries could be applied to all living beings. In 1865 he presented his results to an audience at the Society of Natural Sciences of Brno, which were later published under the title “Plant Hybrids”.
However, the scientists at the time didn´t know the significance of their research, believing that these were experiments that tested what was known at the time that hybrids eventually return to the form of one of their parents.
In 1868, he was elected director of the School where he taught classes, assuming new responsibilities that together with the gradual loss of his sense of sight made him abandon his experiments.
Gregor Mendel died in Brno, Austria, on 6 January 1884. His remains were buried in the monastery cemetery. Thirty years later, scientists Carl E. Correns, von Seysenegg and Hugo de Vries made public their conclusions on the laws of inheritance.
Reviewing the literature in this regard, studies by Gregor Mendel, who was recognized by the scientific world as the pioneer of genetics, were discovered, baptizing his conclusions as the Mendel Laws.
Image source: biography.com
July 28, 2019
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