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Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk who conducted experiments in his garden and discovered the fundamental principles of heredity. Mendel’s findings have become the cornerstone of modern genetics and heredity research, so he is widely considered as the father of modern genetics.
See the fact file below for more information on the Gregor Mendel or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Gregor Mendel worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
LIFE AND CAREER
- Gregor Johann Mendel was born to Anton and Rosine Mendel on July 22, 1822, on his family’s farm, in what was then Heinzendorf, Austria.
- Born in German-speaking Silesia to a family with limited means, Mendel was raised in a rural environment. The local priest noticed his academic ability, persuading his parents to send him away to school at the age of 11.
- His grammar school studies finished in 1840. He later entered a two-year philosophy program at the Philosophical Institute of the University of Olmütz (Olomouc, Czech Republic), where he excelled in physics and mathematics, finishing his studies in 1843.
- He tutored other students to support his studies, and twice suffered serious depression and had to return home to recover.
- Mendel chose to enter the Altbrunn monastery as a novitiate of the Augustinian order, where he was given the name Gregor.
- As a priest, Mendel found his parish duty to visit the sick and dying so distressing that he again became ill.
- In 1850, Mendel failed an examination introduced by the new legislation for teacher certification.
- Mendel, working under Austrian physicist Christian Doppler and mathematical physicist Andreas von Ettinghausen, dedicated his time to physics and mathematics at Vienna.
- He also studied plant anatomy and physiology, and the use of the microscope under botanist Franz Unger.
- In 1853 Mendel returned to his abbey as a teacher, mainly in physics.
- He took the test to become a licensed teacher in 1856, and again failed the oral portion. In 1867, he replaced Napp as abbot of the monastery.
- His scientific work effectively ended after he was appointed as an abbot in 1868. He then became overburdened with administrative duties, in particular a conflict with the civil government over his attempt to impose special taxes on religious institutions.
- Experiments on plant hybridization. Abbot Cyril Napp allowed Mendel to plan a major experimental hybridization program at the monastery in 1854. The purpose of this program was to track hereditary character transmission through successive generations of hybrid progeny.
- Previous authorities had found that the progeny of fertile hybrids appeared to revert to the originating species, thereby concluding that hybridization could not be a method used by itself to multiply species — although in rare cases certain fertile hybrids did not seem to revert (the so-called “constant hybrids”).
- Because of the several distinct varieties, the ease of cultivation and control of pollination, and the high proportion of productive seed germinations, Mendel preferred to conduct his studies with edible pea (Pisum sativum).
- Mendel focused on researching seven traits that tended to be inherited independent of other traits: seed shape, flower color, seed coat tint, pod form, unripe pod colour, flower position, and plant height.
- Mendel’s experimental approach stemmed from his training in physics and mathematics, especially combinatorial mathematics. The latter had best suited him to represent his result. If A is the dominant characteristic and the recessive, then the ratio 1:2:1 recalls the terms in the binomial equation expansion: (A + a)2 = A2 + 2Aa + a2.
- He also studied meteorology and astronomy, and in 1865 founded the Austrian Meteorological Society. Most of his published works is meteorological in nature.
- In addition, Mendel played with hawkweed (Hieracium) and honeybees.
- Mendel published his work on hawkweed, a group of plants which at the time were of great interest to scientists because of their diversity.
- His work was not appreciated until the end of the nineteenth century.
- Many hawkweed species were not recognized as being apomictic, producing most of their seeds through an asexual process.
- During Mendel’s life, most biologists retained the belief that all characteristics were passed onto the next generation by combining inheritance, in which each parent’s traits are combined.
- Gregor Mendel died at the age of 61 on January 6, 1884. He was laid to rest in the burial plot of the monastery, and many people attended his funeral. However, his research was still largely unknown.
- When genetic theory continued to evolve, Mendel’s works fell in and out of favour, but his studies and ideas are considered central to any understanding of the field, and he is thus considered the “father of modern genetics”.
Gregor Mendel Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Gregor Mendel across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Gregor Mendel worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Gregor Mendel who was an Austrian monk who conducted experiments in his garden and discovered the fundamental principles of heredity. Mendel’s findings have become the cornerstone of modern genetics and heredity research, so he is widely considered as the father of modern genetics.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Gregor Mendel Facts
- Timeline History
- Mendel’s Profile
- Letter Clues
- Plant Hybridization
- Jumbled Words
- Science & Religion
- Mendel’s Experiments
- Word Bank
- Famous Scientists
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