Gregor Johann Mendel - Father of Genetics
Mendel (1822-1884) was an Austrian monk who discovered the basic principles of heredity through his experiments. His experiments are the foundation for modern genetics. He was born in 1822 to a family of farmers in Silesian of Czechoslovakia. After finishing his high school at the age of 18, he entered the Augustinian Monastery at Brunn as a priest. From there he went to the University of Vienna for training in physics, mathematics and natural science. Mendel returned to the monastery in 1854 and continued to work as a priest and teach in high school. In his leisure time he started his famous experiments on the garden pea plant. He conducted his experiments in the monastery for about nine years from 1856 to 1865. He had worked on nearly 10000 pea plants of 34 different varieties. Mendel noted that they differ from one another in many ways.
Thus Mendel had chosen 7 pairs of contrasting characters for his study as shown in the table.
He chose the pea plant as it was advantageous for experimental work in many aspects
a) It is naturally self-pollinating and so is very easy to raise pure breeding individuals.
b) It has a short life span as it is an annual and so it was possible to follow several generations.
c) It is easy to cross-pollinate.
d) It has deeply defined contrasting characters.
e) The flowers are bisexual.