Gregor Johann Mendel – the Father of Genetics
Gregor Mendel, born Johann Mendel, was an Austrian priest, biologist, botanist and mathematician, nicknamed “the father of genetics” because he was the first to study in the field of inheritance.
He was born on July 22, 1822, in the village of Heinzendorf bei Odrau, in the farmer’s family. In primary and secondary school he turned out to be an excellent and brilliant student, but his parents could not afford him any further education. Despite this, they succeeded in allowing him to go to the Augustine Monastery, where he continued his education and started teaching children and young people. Since he was a priest, he never got married. He attended high school in Troppau (today Opava) and studied at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Olomouc (Olmütz, Germany). Because of his father’s illness and lack of money, he is forced to become a friar in 1843, and ends his theological school in Brno.
He graduated in mathematics in 1850 and attempted to enroll in natural sciences (biology), but did not pass the exam. Regardless of this irony of destiny, he became known precisely in that science, and knowledge of mathematics and excellent numeracy helped him in this. He successfully linked these two sciences and created them, and he did not know that he had done this, genetics.
Although he failed to pass the exam for enrollment in biology studies, thanks to the head of the monastery, he was sent to Vienna where he studies zoology, botany, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Returns to Brno in 1854 where he teaches at the Technical College. After several unsuccessful attempts in 1856, he gave up his intention to pass a state test for the teacher.
The experiments with the garden peas began in 1856. In 1865 the results of these experiments would be announced at the session of the Natural-Scientific Scientific Society in Brno, and later, in 1866, he published his work Experiments with Plant Hybrids in the collection of the same society. A copy of his work is sent to the then-famous Austrian botanist Karl Wilhelm von Nageli. Nageli did not recognize the genius and significance of this work, and Mendel, out of disappointment, and pressured by the duties of the monastic elder, ceases with his experiments.
Research work by Gregor Mendel
Love for nature has greatly influenced his interest in research work. He was interested in meteorology and theory of evolution, but devoted most of his life to the study of plants. During one of his walks around the monastery, he encountered an atypical species of plant, picked it up and planted next to a typical species. Always wanting to find out how the plants receive atypical properties, this opportunity has made him want. He watched the plants planted next to each other, to see if the next generation would have similar or similar properties. He discovered that the progeny of the plants retain the most important characteristics of the parents, and that the environment does not have any influence on these characteristics, which is contrary to previous theories on the development of plants. This discovery marked the emergence of the idea of inheritance.
After this, Mendel came to the idea of domination and isolation of certain genes, and accordingly, he carried out a series of experiments on peas. It took him almost seven years to prove experiments by crossing certain species. On the basis of his conclusions, he carried out and listed several rules on inheritance, among which the rules that hereditary factors do not combine, but are transmitted directly, and that parents only transmit half the hereditary factors to the offspring.
During later life, Mendel returned to teaching in the monastery, and research work fell into the background, primarily because of the fact that many people did not support and did not believe in his theory.
He died of kidney failure on 6 January 1884 in Brno, Czech Republic.
Mendel’s work became the basis of modern genetics, although he was not recognized and valued as a scientist during his lifetime. However, today nobody questions the influence of hereditary factors on the development of the individual. It is known that many diseases are hereditary, and various experiments are carried out on plants, in an attempt to create certain properties artificially. The results of Mendel’s research have changed the way we look at the world, but also the way we live in it.