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Mendel’s groundbreaking work not appreciated during his time

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Gregor Mendel bred and studied some 28,000 pea plants in what is now Brno, Czech Republic. He published his brilliant deductions from that work in 1866, 150 years ago this year, in the proceedings of the city’s Nature Research Society.

Mendel deduced that there were two forms of the determinant gene for each of the traits he studied, with each of the two parents contributing one of the two forms. It took genius to realise that even though one of the genes could be dominant and mask the effects of the other, the gene causing the alternative trait remained intact and would reveal its effects in a predictable manner in later generations.

It was not until 1900, 34 years later, as three groups were starting down the same path, that they revealed Mendel’s earlier discoveries and their significance in understanding how Darwinian evolution worked. Later there was even discussion of whether Mendel’s results were statistically too good, with his gardener reducing the amount of further experiments by “helping” Mendel achieve the ratios he was expecting.

Read full, original post: Inherited wealth: the genius of George Mendel, the father of genetics

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