The following is a science journalist's description of the key scientific discovery for which Gregor Mendel O.S.A. will be forever remembered.
Mendel’s Experiment: Meticulous work solves mystery of inheritance.
Why does the proverbial apple “not fall far from the tree?” Why do people typically resemble their parents? Why are illnesses often passed down from one generation to the next?
Today we know that genes carry traits from parents to their offspring, but let’s go back to a time in the mid-1800s before genes had been discovered, when Gregor Mendel was working to unravel the riddle of heredity.
This Augustinian friar was not the first to explore these issues. Prior to Mendel’s groundbreaking work, farmers and horticulturalists had been breeding plants and animals for thousands of years, but this work was not sophisticated or scientific.
Also, philosophers, naturalists and scientists had tried to reveal patterns of heredity by positing theories, crossbreeding animals and experimenting with plants.
Nevertheless, Mendel was the first to conduct broad, thorough, systematic and sufficiently rigorous experiments to discern any universal laws governing inheritance. How did he do it?
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