Skip navigation. Johann Gregor Mendel studied plants and their patterns of inheritance in Austria during the nineteenth century. He had two sisters, Veronica and Theresia, with whom he spent his youth working on the year-old family farm. At the urging of the vicar and village schoolmaster, Mendel attended a secondary school and gymnasium.
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Gregor Mendel, known as the "father of modern genetics," was born in Austria in A monk, Mendel discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments in his monastery's garden. His experiments showed that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, subsequently becoming the foundation of modern genetics and leading to the study of heredity. He spent his early youth in that rural setting, until age 11, when a local schoolmaster who was impressed with his aptitude for learning recommended that he be sent to secondary school in Troppau to continue his education.
The move was a financial strain on his family, and often a difficult experience for Mendel, but he excelled in his studies, and in , he graduated from the school with honors.
There, he again distinguished himself academically, particularly in the subjects of physics and math, and tutored in his spare time to make ends meet. Despite suffering from deep bouts of depression that, more than once, caused him to temporarily abandon his studies, Mendel graduated from the program in That same year, against the wishes of his father, who expected him to take over the family farm, Mendel began studying to be a monk: He joined the Augustinian order at the St.
Thomas Monastery in Brno, and was given the name Gregor. In , when his work in the community in Brno exhausted him to the point of illness, Mendel was sent to fill a temporary teaching position in Znaim. While there, Mendel studied mathematics and physics under Christian Doppler, after whom the Doppler effect of wave frequency is named; he studied botany under Franz Unger, who had begun using a microscope in his studies, and who was a proponent of a pre-Darwinian version of evolutionary theory.
In , upon completing his studies at the University of Vienna, Mendel returned to the monastery in Brno and was given a teaching position at a secondary school, where he would stay for more than a decade. It was during this time that he began the experiments for which he is best known. Around , Mendel began to research the transmission of hereditary traits in plant hybrids.
Mendel chose to use peas for his experiments due to their many distinct varieties, and because offspring could be quickly and easily produced. He cross-fertilized pea plants that had clearly opposite characteristics—tall with short, smooth with wrinkled, those containing green seeds with those containing yellow seeds, etc. He also proposed that this heredity followed basic statistical laws. In , Mendel delivered two lectures on his findings to the Natural Science Society in Brno, who published the results of his studies in their journal the following year, under the title Experiments on Plant Hybrids.
Mendel did little to promote his work, however, and the few references to his work from that time period indicated that much of it had been misunderstood. It was generally thought that Mendel had shown only what was already commonly known at the time—that hybrids eventually revert to their original form. The importance of variability and its evolutionary implications were largely overlooked. Furthermore, Mendel's findings were not viewed as being generally applicable, even by Mendel himself, who surmised that they only applied to certain species or types of traits.
Of course, his system eventually proved to be of general application and is one of the foundational principles of biology. In , Mendel was elected abbot of the school where he had been teaching for the previous 14 years, and both his resulting administrative duties and his gradually failing eyesight kept him from continuing any extensive scientific work. He traveled little during this time, and was further isolated from his contemporaries as the result of his public opposition to an taxation law that increased the tax on the monasteries to cover Church expenses.
Gregor Mendel died on January 6, , at the age of His work, however, was still largely unknown. Questions arose about the validity of the claims that the trio of botanists were not aware of Mendel's previous results, but they soon did credit Mendel with priority. Even then, however, his work was often marginalized by Darwinians, who claimed that his findings were irrelevant to a theory of evolution.
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Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk who discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments in his garden. Mendel's observations became the foundation of modern genetics and the study of heredity, and he is widely considered a pioneer in the field of genetics.
Biography of Gregor Mendel, Father of Genetics
Gregor Mendel, known as the "father of modern genetics," was born in Austria in A monk, Mendel discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments in his monastery's garden. His experiments showed that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, subsequently becoming the foundation of modern genetics and leading to the study of heredity. He spent his early youth in that rural setting, until age 11, when a local schoolmaster who was impressed with his aptitude for learning recommended that he be sent to secondary school in Troppau to continue his education. The move was a financial strain on his family, and often a difficult experience for Mendel, but he excelled in his studies, and in , he graduated from the school with honors. There, he again distinguished himself academically, particularly in the subjects of physics and math, and tutored in his spare time to make ends meet.
His parents were peasant farmers and very early on recognized their son's intellect. Mendel was able to stay in school and pursue an academic life. His sister, Theresia, actually sacrificed part of her dowry so that Mendel could get an education. In his autobiography, Mendel said that unlike other clerics, he didn't feel called to the Church: "my circumstances decided my vocational choice. Also, the monastery sent him to school to continue his education.
Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
Gregor Mendel Schools Wikipedia Selection. Thomas in Brno Alma Mater University of Vienna Known for "Discovering" modern genetics Religion Roman Catholic Gregor Johann Mendel July 20, — January 6, was an Augustinian abbot who is often called the "father of modern genetics " for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants. Mendel showed that the inheritance of traits follows particular laws, which were later named after him. The significance of Mendel's work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century. Its rediscovery prompted the foundation of genetics. In he entered the Augustinian Abbey of St. Born Johann Mendel, he took the name Gregor upon entering monastic life.