Gregor Mendel. — Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), was an Austrian monk and abbott in the monastery of Briinn, where he conducted his experiments in the Cloister;
Garden. He loved plants and loved to experiment with them. Although he studied heredity only as a pastime, his laws of heredity and his experimental method of investigating them are two of the most important contributions ever made to biological science.
Mendel's success was due to the clearness with which he thought out the problem. He knew the works of other investigators of heredity, and attributed their failure to reach definite conclusions to a want of precise and continued analysis. To obtain definite results he saw that it was necessary to start with pure material, to consider each character separately, and to keep the different generations distinctly separate. He also realized that the progeny of each individual must be recorded separately. Such ideas were new in Mendel's time, but he felt certain that experiments carried on in this systematic way would give regular results and lead to definite conclusions.
Mendel saw that most could be accomplished by crossing plants of different varieties or species and observing the behavior of the hybrid offspring in successive generations. His plan was to cross plants differing in one or a few outstanding characters, such as the color of flowers, height of plant, color and shape of seeds, etc., and determine the laws governing the appearance of these characters in the hybrid offspring.
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