Father of Genetics

The Czech Republic isn't just rich in culture, but also rich in knowledge. Gregor Mendel, a proud Czech, was a monk who founded one of the fundamental laws of nature and science. 


Mendel was born on July 22, 1822, in Czech lands, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Mendel's brilliance was evident at an early age; however, because he wasn't born into a wealthy family, he always struggled financially. Despite that, he continued his pursuit of knowledge, finally getting his degree in 1843. 

That same year Mendel chose to head on a different path and, against the wishes of his father and family, became a monk. In the monastery, he had access to a vast library and experimental facilities. This allowed him not only to continue his studies without financial worries but also put him in the presence of other great minds. In 1849 he was offered a teaching position in Znaim for which he had to take a teaching exam. When he failed the teaching exam, he was put into the University of Vienna at the monastery's expense. There he was able to shadow other scientists and access tools that he would later use to create his laws of genetics. In 1853 he returned to the monastery to teach. This turned out to be one of the most crucial moves in his life, allowing him to begin the experiments he is best known. 

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Around 1854, Mendel began his research on the transmission of hereditary traits in plants using several species. He eventually chose to use peas as the primary plants because of their varieties and easy production.  At that time it was widely known that certain traits are inherited, but he elaborated on that knowledge and also established the statistical laws of heredity. This thought in itself was ahead of its time. Even though his work did get published, no one at the time thought it was generally applicable, causing it to be ignored. He passed away in 1884, at the age of 61, not knowing where his work would lead.

Within a few years, geneticists, and biologists researching inheritance realized Mendel's disregarded studies were actually of significant value. His work laid the basis for their experiments. Soon after, the scientific community understood that Mendel’s work established genetics as a measurable thing rather than a random probability. His studies were recognized and named Mendel's laws. Though acknowledged very late, Gregor Mendel, a Czech monk who spent his life to pursue knowledge, is the real Father of Genetics.



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