Gregor Mendel, Austrian botanist

Gregor Mendel, Austrian botanist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), Austrian botanist and founder of genetics. Mendel, the abbot of an abbey in Brno, carried out breeding experiments with pea plants. During the period 1856-63 he bred almost 30,000 pea plants in his monastery garden. By crossing strains of pea he demonstrated that hereditary characteristics were inherited from the parent plants. His work was ignored until 16 years after his death, but he is now considered the founder of genetics. His results revealed the statistical laws of heredity, and he postulated the existence of a unit of heredity that is now called the gene.

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