British geneticist William Bateson is widely credited with bringing the groundbreaking work of Gregor Mendel to the attention of the scientific world, apparently inspired by reading a copy of Mendel’s paper describing the laws of inheritance in pea plants while on the train to deliver a lecture at the Royal Horticultural Society in London in May 1900. It’s a nice story, sure—but did it really happen?
On the latest episode of Genetics Unzipped, part of our series covering 100 ideas in genetics, biologist Kat Arney retraces Bateson’s famous journey and asks whether this scientific legend is actually true.
The focus on Mendel’s peas in the history of genetics means that other important species tend to get overlooked. Also in this episode, Arney takes a look at the role that delicate, colorful snapdragons (antirrhinums) have played in revealing the complex interplay between genes and biological structures. Finally, she discovers how to build an army of MinIONs—that’s the handheld DNA sequencers, rather than the little yellow guys in dungarees.
Genetics Unzipped is presented by award-winning science communicator and biologist Kat Arney and produced by First Create the Media for the UK Genetics Society. Follow Kat on Twitter @Kat_Arney and Genetics Unzipped @geneticsunzip