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The Life of Gregor Mendel and His Contributions to Science

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The Life of Gregor Mendel and His Contributions to Science essay

Genetics is the most interesting part of science because it explains how certain traits are passed down by parents to their offspring. Gregor Mendel is considered the pioneer in explaining this theory of the genetics within generations of offspring. Mendel’s studies would shape the way we view genetics, and his studies have been used to describe the phenotype and the genotype of plants, animals, and humans. Some agreed that Mendel’s findings was significant to science and other disagreed that his finding was not as great. Mendel’s contribution to science has been misunderstood for more than a century (Waller). His scientific findings, life and philosophy can be proof that Gregor Mendel is a pioneer in the world of science.

Gregor Johann Mendel was born July 22, 1822 in the village of Heinzendorf in Austria. He was the second of three children to his parents Anton and Rosine Mendel (“Gregor Mendel: 10 Facts”). Mendel spent most of his life living in rural settings in Austria where he lived on a farm with his family. Gregor Mendel spent most of his life as a monk in Brno to get away from poverty and some believe to help pay for his education. He also got his first name “Gregor” after being convinced by his professor to become a monk. Mendel didn’t like the monastery life, he stated in his autobiography that he had no calling to the church. After finishing grammar school in 1840 Mendel attended the Faculty of Philosophy at University of Olomanc in Czech Republic (“Gregor Mendel: 10 Facts on Father of Genetics”). He fought through some obstacles while in college because Mendel suffered from severe depression which led to him having to take a year off from school to deal with his mental illness. He returned to school after a year, and completed the 2 year degree at the University of Olomanc in 1843. In 1843 Mendel entered an Augustinian monastery in Brno where he began his life as monk. Mendel started studying plants in the monastery where cultivated more 30,000 plants during his time there. Mendel also was a substitute high school teacher for a brief moment and, started his own independent scientific investigations. Mendel was an enthusiastic researcher spending many hours on studies in meteorology and beekeeping. He also focused on growing different flowers which would began his interest into genetics.

Mendel’s scientific findings and philosophy played a very unique role on how we view and study the genetics of science today. He used plant hybrids to find out the inner workings of genetics, he created an exact method of search into heredity. Mendel was famous for 2 scientific laws which applied to genetics and sexual reproduction. The first law is the law of segregation states that gametes encompasses both sperm and egg the cells that are central to sexual reproduction. It also states the chromosomes are strands of DNA on which genes are located. The second law was called the law of independent assortment which states that the physiological independence of a gene is such gamete will contain a random mixture of chromosomes derived from the carrier’s paternal and maternal genomes (Waller). Mendel also came up with the Mendelian ratios which were the breeding between pure strains of pea plant to produce hybrids.

Although his contributions to science was very significant, many went against Mendel’s findings on genetics. For instance Russian communists believed they can breed a new kind of human without the constants of Mendelian genetics (Edelson). Nazis in the 30s and 40s described Mendel’s work as someone who went against Darwin’s theory of evolution. Mendel’s findings would later make it to the museum world when the Mendel Museum opened up in 2002 which now is an institution at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Many biologists believed that new findings about heredity were incompatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection (Kitcher). Even though Darwin and Mendel were alive at the same time they never met even though their findings were like a marriage made in heaven (Bowler). Mendel did not have his works published nor did he inform scientists about his findings or philosophy. Many believe it was due to his illness which would cause his death, or he felt he had not done enough scientific work. Unfortunately, his findings didn’t get studied until after his death in which could be a reason a lot of inventors and creating don’t share their works.

Gregor Mendel’s work proved he is the pioneer in the world of science, because of his findings and philosophy on genetics or what we study today on how sexual reproduction works. In his last words Mendel stated “although I have had to live through many bitter moments in my life, I must admit with gratitude that the beautiful and good prevailed, my scientific work brought me much satisfaction, and I am sure it will be soon recognized by the whole world” (Edelson). This quote showed that his work was the driving force in his life, and he recognized the importance of his work. Scientists stated that “Mendel was a sober mind his thoughts were mainly concerned with concrete facts, and he had little inclination for sentimental of any sort” (Edelson). Even though Mendel’s significance is debated, but his laws helped to clarify how characteristics are transmitted from parent to offspring (Bowler)

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