Gregor Johann Mendel(redirected from alternative inheritance)
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Mendel, Gregor Johann
Mendel, Gregor Johann (grāˈgôr yōˈhän mĕnˈdəl), 1822–84, Austrian monk noted for his experimental work on heredity. He entered the Augustinian monastery in Brno in 1843, taught at a local secondary school, and carried out independent scientific investigations on garden peas and other plants until his election as prelate in 1868. Failing eyesight and his duties as prelate somewhat curtailed his researches; although he anticipated Oscar Hertwig's discovery that fertilization of an egg involved only one male sex cell, these findings went unpublished.
Mendel was the first to fashion, by means of a controlled pollination technique and careful statistical analysis of his results, a clear, analytic picture of heredity. His account of the experiments and his conclusions, published in 1866 (tr. Experiments in Plant Hybridization, 1926), were ignored during his lifetime. Rediscovered by three separate investigators (Correns, de Vries, and Tschermak) in 1900, Mendel's conclusions have become the basic tenets of genetics and a notable influence in plant and animal breeding.
Mendel's First Law
Mendel's Second Law
See biography of Mendel by V. Ore (1984); see also R. C. Olby, The Origins of Mendelism (2d ed. 1985).
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Born July 22, 1822, in Heinzendorf, Austria-Hungary (present-day Hinčice, Czechoslovakia); died Jan. 6, 1884, in Briinn, Austria-Hungary (present-day Brno). Discoverer of Mendelism, the theory of heredity. Son of a peasant.
Mendel became a monk in the Augustinian monastery in Briinn in 1843 (and an abbot in 1868) because of financial difficulties after completing philosophy courses at the university in Olmütz. In 1849 he taught natural history and physics in a high school. From 1851 to 1853 he took courses in physics, botany, paleontology, and analytical chemistry at the University of Vienna.
Between 1856 and 1863, Mendel performed extensive experiments with the hybridization of 22 varieties of pea plant. He reported the results of these experiments to the Briinn Natural Science Society in 1865; his paper was published in the proceedings of the society in 1866. His quantitative recording of all types of hybrids obtained, as well as his variational-statistical approach, characteristic of the entire body of his work, made Mendel the first to substantiate and formulate the principles of the random segregation and recombination of hereditary factors. These principles became the basis of his theory of heredity, known as Mendel’s laws.
Mendel tried to confirm his principles with other plants, including hawkweed. The choice of hawkweed was unfortunate, since the results contradicted the data obtained for peas. (It was later discovered that hawkweed often reproduces without fertilization, so that hybrids cannot be obtained.) He also concerned himself with apiculture, meteorology, and horticulture (breeding a new variety of fuchsia and doing grafts and crosses of fruit trees), and he crossed gray and white mice.
Mendel’s discoveries failed to win him recognition during his lifetime, although the results were known to a number of the leading botanists of his day. His misunderstood and forgotten work first attracted widespread attention in 1900, when H. De Vries, C. Correns, and E. von Tschermak became convinced almost simultaneously of the soundness of his conclusions on the basis of their own experiments. The international scientific community celebrated the centenary of Mendel’s discoveries in 1965.
WORKSOpyty nad rastiteVnymi gibridami (s biografich. ocherkom). Moscow, 1965.
[Soch.] In G. Mendel, C. Naudin, and A. Sagiret, Izbrannye raboty. Moscow, 1968.
REFERENCESFilipchenko, lu. A. Frensis GaVton i Gregor Mendel’. Moscow, 1925.
Timiriazev, K. “Mendel’.”In Entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ Granat, llth ed., vol. 28. Moscow [no date].
Gaisinovich, A. E. Zarozhdenie genetiki. Moscow, 1967.
Orel, V. “Kak rodilas’ teoriia Mendelia.” Priroda, 1972, no. 5.
Iltis, H. Gregor Johann Mendel: Leben, Werk und Wirkung. Berlin, 1924.
Gregor Johann Mendel, 1822-1884: Texte und Quellen zu seinem Werken und Leben. Leipzig, 1965. (Compiled with commentary by J. Kříženecký.)
Jakubíček, M., and J. Kubíček. Bibliographia Mendeliana. Brno, 1965.
Jakubíček, M., and J. Kubíček. Bibliographia Mendeliana. Supple. 1965-1969. Brno, 1970.
Folia Mendeliana. (Annually, since 1966.)
Gustafsson, A. “The Life of Gregor Johann Mendel—Tragic or Not?” Hereditas, 1969, nos. 1-2.