Mendel Gregor Johann


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Men·del

 (mĕn′dl), Gregor Johann 1822-1884.
Moravian botanist who determined, through experiments with garden peas, the laws of heredity that later became the foundation for the science of genetics.

Men·del

(mĕn′dl), Gregor Johann 1822-1884.
Austrian botanist and founder of the science of genetics. He formulated the important principles, known as Mendel's laws, that formed the basis of modern genetics.
Biography Gregor Mendel entered a monastery at the age of 21, later becoming a priest. He was sent to a university to study mathematics and science. When he returned to the monastery, he combined his interests in math and botany by experimenting with garden peas. Mendel cross-pollinated plants of different sizes and shapes as well as plants that produced different colors of flowers or peas. He analyzed each generation of new plants that were produced by this cross-pollination. He observed that some characteristics remained constant in every generation, while others remained hidden, or recessive, and became apparent only in later generations. We now refer to the element that determines each characteristic as a gene, and know that genes are parts of chromosomes and are made of DNA—things Mendel had no knowledge of. Mendel proved that two genes exist for each trait and that each gene comes from a different parent. A recessive trait becomes visible only when both genes for the trait are present, but a dominant trait is visible even when only one dominant gene is present. Mendel summarized his discoveries in 1865 in laws that became fundamental to the study of human heredity.
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