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Gregor Mendel. Portrait of Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), Austrian botanist who discovered the basic statistical laws of genetic heredity. A peasant farmer's son, he became an Augustinian monk in 1843, studied science in Vienna during 1851-3 and became an Abbot in 1868. During 1856-63 he bred almost 30,000 pea plants in his monastery garden. By crossing various 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.
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