Gregor Mendel: His theory of characteristics in pea pod plants.

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Gregor Mendel

1822 - 1884


Gregor Johann Mendel was born on July 22, 1822, in Heizendorf, Austria. He was the only son of a peasant farmer. In 1843 he began studying at the St. Thomas Monastery of the Augustinian Order in Brünn. He was ordained into the priesthood in August of 1847. After his ordination, Mendel was assigned to pastoral duties, but it soon became apparent that he was more suited to teaching. In 1849, he was assigned to a secondary school in the city of Znaim. It was there that he took the qualifying examination for teacher certification and failed. In 1851 he entered the University of Vienna to train to be a teacher of Mathematics and Biology. It was at the University of Vienna that he developed his skills as a researcher that he utilized later in his life. Mendel returned to teaching in Brunn in 1854.

Two years later he again attempted the state certification examination. He became quite ill, perhaps as a result of severe debilitating test anxiety, and he withdrew. He did attempt to take the examination again, but returned to Brünn in 1856 where he continued to teach part-time. Toward the end of his life, in 1868, Mendel was promoted in the monastery to Abbot. He died on January 6, 1884.

During the middle of Mendel's life, Mendel did groundbreaking work into the theories of heredity. Using simple pea pod plants, Mendel studied seven basic characteristics of the pea pod plants. By tracing these characteristics, Mendel discovered three basic laws that governed the passage of a trait from one member of a species to another member of the same species. The first law states that the sex cells of a plant may contain two different traits, but not both of those traits. The...