“Together we make a great pair!” (Unit #5 Gregor Mendel)

“My scientific studies have afforded me great gratification, and I am convinced that it will not be long before the whole world acknowledges the results of my work.” ~ Gregor Mendel

In this Unit we will be learning all about genetics and our heredity, where we come from, DNA, and tying it into our theme of “Science is in our genes.” Learning about DNA way back in my 7th grade class is what first sparked my interest in science. I love learning everything about it. I still research about genetics all of the time. Now onto our scientist of the month.

Gregor Mendel was an Austrian Monk who discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments in his garden. Mendel’s observations became the foundation for modern genetics and the study of heredity and he is widely considered a pioneer in the field of genetics. He is known as the “father of modern genetics” His experiments showed that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, subsequently becoming the foundation of modern genetics and leading to the study of heredity.

Mendel chose to use peas for his experiments due to their many distinct varieties, and because offspring could be quickly and easily produced. He cross-fertilized pea plants that had clearly opposite characteristics—tall with short, smooth with wrinkled, those containing green seeds with those containing yellow seeds, etc.—and, after analyzing his results, reached two of his most important conclusions: the Law of Segregation, which established that there are dominant and recessive traits passed on randomly from parents to offspring (and provided an alternative to blending inheritance, the dominant theory of the time), and the Law of Independent Assortment, which established that traits were passed on independently of other traits from parent to offspring. He also proposed that this heredity followed basic statistical laws. Though Mendel’s experiments had been conducted with pea plants, he put forth the theory that all living things had such traits. ~biography.com

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