{draw:frame} Mendel was an Austrian monk and biologist whose work on heredity became the basis of the modern theory of genetics. Born in 1822 in Heizendorf, Austria (now Hyncice, Czechoslovakia), his real name was Johann Mendel. At this time, the poorer families of Austria could not afford good education so having no other option Mendel soon escaped to a monastery in Brno in order to get a good education at a cheaper price. This monastery is nowadays recognised as ‘the Augustinian Order of St Thomas’, a school of learning and scientific enquiry. As he became older, he started becoming called Gregor. Soon after his education ended he wanted to stay on at the monastery.
{draw:frame} It was in the very garden of the monastery, he started his investigation about inheritance. It was only a couple of years before, that the fact that the characteristics of parents (animals and plants) combined in some way when they had children emerged. Mendel personally didn’t agree with the part of the theory including the plants so his investigation was mainly based on proving this theory partly wrong. Known to some as the ‘Mendel’s pea plant experiment’, people claim that 28000 garden peas were cultivated, tested and carefully analysed the seeds for any comparison, such as shape of seed, colour of seed, tall stemmed and short stemmed and tall plants and short plants but this claim has remained unproven. Initially Mendel had noticed that pea plants had either purple or white flowers. He had also noticed that when they produced seeds for new pea plants, these new pea plants only grew with white or purple plants and not any blend of purple and white. This then already proves the theory that was brought earlier about humans and plants were wrong. The conclusion brought up instead was that the parent pea plants passed on specific features rather than combined features to their offspring plants.
The main experiment was quite simple; firstly Mendel took a purple flowering plant that had produced some white flowering plants. Then he took pollen from a white flowering plant and transferred pollen with a paint brush so that it fertilises the purple flower. Finally, he planted the seeds that the purple flowering plant produced. When they grew into adult plants he mainly focused on counting how many plant had purple flowers and how many had white but also he observed other aspects and started to draw up conclusions. Another piece of evidence to support his conclusion was that Mendel discovered that by crossing tall and short parent plants he got hybrid offspring that resembled the tall parent rather than being a medium height blend.
Dominant: an allele that always expresses itself whether it is partnered by a recessive allele or by another like itself. It is also known as the stronger of the influences.
Recessive: describes the variant of a gene for a particular characteristic which is masked or suppressed in the presence of the dominant variant. A recessive gene will remain dormant unless it is paired with another recessive gene. It is also known as the weaker of the influences. (Taken from BBC Bitesize!!)
Mendel published his findings in 1866 but unfortunately people did not appreciate them and disregarded them. It wasn’t till 1900 that Mendel's work was widely recognised again thanks to independent investigators. One of whom a Dutch botanist, Hugo De Vries. Mendel’s work was published in many languages, one of them English. This then caused people around the world to take his ideas seriously.

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