Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The "Father" of genetics turns 189

World celebrates the accomplishments of the priest and scientist

Google's company named spelled above the search bar
honouring Gregor Mendel's pea experiments that led
led to the science of genetics

If you search anything on Google today, you will notice that above the search bar is the company letters spelled out in peas. These are not just any peas, they are the symbol of one of the greatest scientists of all time Gregor Mendel. Who just happened to be a Catholic priest.

Mendel was born in the Austrian Empire in 1822. He grew up on a farm where he would garden regularly, which would serve him well in the future. Mendel was a very bright man who was dedicated to his studies in philosophy and physics at the University of Olomouc.

Father Gregor Mendel went on to
become the Abbot for the Abbey of Saint
Thomas in Brno. Unfortunately the
administration duties took him away
from his studies.
He went on to study as a priest and, at the recommendation of his physics teacher, entered the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Thomas in Brno. There he went on to father the science of genetics. Mendel conducted multiple experiments on pea plants between 1856 and 1863. He concluded the different plants had three different characteristics: recessive, hybrid, and dominant alleles. In other words, the characteristics of an organism's offspring will carry on depending on the genetic make-up of the mates.

Mendel wasn't initially recognized for his work among the scientific community. Many scientists favoured the blending inheritance theory by Charles Darwin. This idea was that a random set of circumstances to determine how a species would develop. This was debunked in the 1900's when Mendel's theories were combined with Darwin's theory of natural selection.

He went on to teach at the Abbey as well as become the Abbot before he died in 1884.    

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