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Biography of Johann Gregor Mendel - The Father of Genetics

Updated on June 16, 2016
Gregor Johann Mendel
Gregor Johann Mendel | Source

Johann Gregor Mendel well known as the Father of Genetics was born on July 22, 1822, in the Silesian Village of Heinzendorf, now known as Hyncice in the Czech Republic. His father's name was Anton Mendel, and his mother's name was Rosine Mendel.

Early life of Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel grew up on a rural farm in Heinzendorf, Silesia. He went to a rural school until the age of eleven. On seeing Gregor Mendel’s avid interest in studies, the school headmaster recommended him to be sent to a secondary school in Troppau. He was a very good student and graduated from the secondary school with high honors.

His family was very poor and could barely make ends meet. During this time, Mendel frequently worked on his family’s farm. Even before attending school Gregor Mendel was well versed in the fields of horticulture and agriculture.

After his graduation, Gregor Mendel joined the Philosophical Institute at the University of Olmutz and enrolled in a two-year program. In the institute, he excelled in the subjects of Physics and Maths. Gregor Mendel also tutored students in his free time to pay his fees.

During this time, Mendel suffered from depression due to which he stopped his studies for a short period. In spite of all the difficulties that he faced, Gregor Mendel graduated from the Philosophical University in 1843.

Gregor Mendel at the Augustinian Monastery

In the same year, Gregor Mendel joined the Augustinian monastery in Brno, the capital of Moravia.

In the monastery abbot, Cyril Napp helped and encouraged Gregor Mendel to research and conduct experiments on hybridization in plants. Hybridization in plants was of great concern to the monastery because of their possession of vast agricultural lands in Moravia.

The abbot also helped Gregor Mendel to study Physics, Botany and Zoology for two years at the University of Vienna.

Gregor Mendel at the University of Vienna

At the University of Vienna, Mendel was coached by two great scientists. Christian Doppler taught Mendel Mathematics, and Physics, and Franz Unger taught Mendel Botany. Mendel returned to the Augustinian monastery after completing his studies at the University of Vienna in 1853.

After his return, Mendel started teaching at a secondary school for more than a decade. During this time, Mendel began his experiments with pea plants that led to the discovery of Mendel's Laws of Inheritance in the field of Genetics.

Research Work of Gregor Mendel

In the year 1854, Mendel started his experiments with pea plants (Botanical Name – Pisum sativum). Mendel chose pea plants for his experiments because they had many varieties, it was very easy to produce the offspring of pea plants in a short time and could be grown in a small area.

Mendel observed following traits (characters) in pea plants –

Traits that Mendel studied in Pea Plants

 
 
Form of ripe seed
Smooth or Wrinkled
Color of seed albumen
Yellow or Green
Color of flower
Purple or White
Form of ripe pod
Inflated or Constricted
Color of unripe pods
Green or Yellow
Position of Flowers
Axial or Terminal
Length of Stem
Tall or Dwarf

Mendel's Laws of Inheritance

Mendel selectively cross-pollinated pure-bred pea plants with specific traits (characters) and observed the resultant offspring over many generations. These observations formed the basis of Mendel’s Laws of Genetic Inheritance.

Based on the results of his experiments with pea plants Mendel developed the three laws of inheritance -

  1. The Law of Dominance
  2. The Law of Segregation
  3. The Law of Independent Assortment

In 1865, Mendel gave two lectures about his findings to the Natural Science Society in Brno. They published the results of his studies in their journal “Experiments on Plant Hybrids” in the year 1866.

Little was known about the importance of his research and findings during that time. Even Mendel himself did not think that his laws had made a significant impact in the field of genetic inheritance. He believed that his laws applied only to a certain variety of pea plants with specific traits.

Gregor Mendel’s Late Life

Gregor Mendel was appointed as the abbot of the monastery in 1868. In the year 1874, the then ruling government formed a new law relating to the taxes that had to be paid by the cloisters to the religious fund. Mendel protested against the law passed by the government and refused to pay extra taxes.

Later, the government appointed him to the Board of Directors of the Moravian Mortgage Bank. In 1876, Mendel became the vice-governor of the bank and then the governor in 1881.

Mendel's health deteriorated due to the stress that he had to face while fighting against the unfair tax law passed by the Government. His health slowly deteriorated, and he died on Jan 6th, 1884 in Brno without receiving any recognition for his groundbreaking work in the field of genetics.

Recognition of Mendel's Research Work

Sixteen years later Mendel’s work was rediscovered by three Botanists Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich Tschemak. They appreciated and publicly recognized Mendel’s research work and also stated that they had achieved similar results in the experiments that they had conducted on plants.

Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance is now the foundation of the modern study of genetics.

References

History of Genetics - Gregor Johann Mendel

nature.com

boigraphy.com

ww2.edc.org


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    • Vellur profile image
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      Nithya Venkat 19 months ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

      Great info, I love science all branches of science and this was something I didn't know, nell

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Paula Atwell thank you for stopping by, much appreciated.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Very interesting information about this valuable contributor to science. :)

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      AudreyHowitt thank you, much appreciated.

      rebeccamealey thank you for your visit, Mendel' work is really fascinating!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Mendel and his work in genetics has always been fascinating to me, ever since high school biology. Thanks for an interesting read. Great research!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Came back to read this great hub and send it around again! Hope all is great with you!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Homeplace Series yes Mendel and his work is truly fascinating .

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Fascinating person, and works. Thanks for sharing these insights! Useful! ;-)

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      rajan jolly thank you for reading and for your vote, much appreciated.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      As a major in Botany, I loved reading about Gregor Mendel and his contribution to genetics via his fundamental laws of inheritance.

      Good information. Voted up.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      stuff4kids yes, you are so right, thank you for stopping by.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing information about this, well, genius. Given that he could only infer his ideas about genetics and inheritance so long before the discovery of DNA and genes, he showed an incredible command of deductive and inductive reasoning.

      Great stuff! :)

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      AudreyHowitt thank you.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      So interesting, especially since it let us see into his inner life a bit--loved that!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      mylindaelliott yes I guess it is because they do not get the encouragement and support that they so deserve. Thank you for stopping by.

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      So many scientists seem to have had some type of mental complications like depression or more severe ones. I wonder about that.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      DreamerMeg thank you for your visit and yes Genetics is very interesting.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I loved genetics, so interesting!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you for your visit, vote up and share. Genetics is a fascinating field.

      rebeccamealey thank you, genetics is really interesting.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very interesting. Thank you! I remember studying about this in high school biology and doing the charts for crossing plant traits.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      I love learning about scientists that I hadn't really heard about before, so this was fascinating! voted up and shared! nell

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      always exploring thank you for your visit. Mendel's contribution is phenomenal. Thanks to him we have cures for so many diseases.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I remember studying Mendel's genetics in nurses training. You've added much by telling his story. Very interesting..

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Alicia C thank you and yes he has made very important and valuable contributions.

      ChitrangadaSharan thank you am glad you got to know more about the great man.

      TurtleDog thank you and yes quite a shame and really sad that he was not recognized.

      Jodah thank you for reading and am glad you enjoyed.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I enjoyed this hub. I had heard of Gregor Mendel, but never knew anything about his life. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 3 years ago

      Very interesting! Voted up. Shame he was never truly recognized while he was still alive. Nice job

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub!

      You took me back to my school days, when We were taught about Genetics and George Mendel. Never knew so many details about him. Thanks for educating through your wonderful hub!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed learning more about Mendel's life. He made some very important contributions to biology. Thanks for the information, Vellur.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      billybuc yes he was a brilliant man, thank you for your visit.

      DDE thank you for stopping by.

      pstraubie48 thank you. I can imagine the anger! I guess we all did feel the anger at some point or other when we were in students.

      jhamann thank you for your visit.

      teaches12345 it is really sad that his work was not recognized when he was alive. Thank you for your visit.

      Ruchira, oh yes biology class! I do remember them. Yes, thanks to him that we are able to cure at least some of the diseases. Thank you for stopping by.

      Faith Reaper thank you and yes he was really brilliant. Thank you for reading, the vote and share.

      Jackie Lynnley thank you for stopping by. I guess it is a coincidence!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Love this background you have given and kind of weird we both wrote of Moravia today, huh? And the Czech Republic. What are the chances?

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Thank you for sharing here about such a brilliant man. Learned a lot that I did not know.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

      you took me back to my biology class when we studied mendel and his research...thanks to him we are able to control diseases (well, somewhat)

      great work, nithya!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      One hears so much about Mendel's studies but rarely do we get to read his background. It seems he did not receive as much credit as he deserved. Thank you for the education.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      What a great man and a great scientist, thank you for this wonderful hub. Jamie

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Very informative. And I am certain I disliked him immensely when I was in college and had to do all of those problems to figure out traits!!!

      Well done....

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Biography of Johann Gregor Mendel - The Father of Genetics is a useful hub and well approached.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very interesting....pretty brilliant man I would say. Thanks for the education.