Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk, whose experimental work became
the steeping stones for the field of heredity,today.
Mendel was born on July 22, 1822, to a poor family in Heinzendorf
(which is now Hyncice, Czech Republic). He entered the Augustinian
monastery at Br?nn (which is now Brno, Czech Republic), which was
known as a center of learning and scientific research. He later became a
teacher at the technical school in Br?nn. There Mendel became
interested in investigating variation, heredity, and evolution in plants at
the monastery's experimental garden. Between 1856 and 1863 he grew
and tested at least 28,000 pea plants, carefully analyzing seven pairs of
seed and plant characteristics. His expensive and time-consuming
experiments resulted in generalizations that later became known as the
laws of heredity, or Mendel's Laws. His observations also led him to coin
two terms still used in present-day genetics: dominance, for a trait that
shows up in an offspring; and recessiveness, for a trait masked by a
dominant gene.
Mendel published his important work on heredity in 1866.Because
of, its descriptions of large numbers of experimental plants, which
allowed him to express his results numerically and subject them to
statistical analysis, this work made virtually no impression for the next 34
years. Only in 1900 was his work recognized by three investigators, one
of whom was the Dutch botanist Hugo De Vries.Not until the late 1920s
and the early '30s was its full possibility and meaning realized, particularly
in relation to evolutionary theory. As a result of years of research in
population genetics, investigators were able to demonstrate that evolution
can be described in terms of the change in gene frequency of Mendelian
pairs of characteristics in a population over successive generations.
Mendel's later experiments with the hawkweed Hieracium proved
inconclusive, and because of the pressure of other duties he ceased his
experiments on heredity by the 1870s. He died in Br?nn on January 6,
1884.