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Mendel's Pea Plants

Introduces Gregor Mendel and the first experiments in genetics.

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Of Monks and Peas
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Of Monks and Peas

common pea plants (Pisum sativum)


Mendel and the Birth of Genetics

Why It Matters

But I Don't Like Peas!

The study of genetics and genes has transformed how we see the world. It has changed how we look at ourselves, diseases and the world we live in and can all be traced back to a monk in the Czech republic named Gregor Mendel (July 20, 1822 – January 6, 1884), a monk and his peas.

Watch a video about this great person at the following link:

So there you go. Even some of the most influential ideas in science don't receive acceptance until the evidence supporting them starts to pile up.

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  1. In the 19th century, botanists were working on breeding plants to improve agricultural crops. What did these botanists notice could happen to traits they were trying to isolate?
  2. What three factors does Sir Paul Nurse feel were key to Mendel's success?
  3. Why did Gregor Mendel stop doing research? What was the scientific opinion of his work at the time?
  4. Gregor Mendel has been criticized by some for "cherry picking" his data. This stems from the claim that he simply discarded data which didn't fit rather than trying to integrate all his data into his theory. What do you think of this criticism and the choices Mendel made in conducting his research and presenting his data?
  5. What is one possible reason why the experiments on heredity in 1900-1901 received wider acceptance and recognition than Mendel's initial work? Does your reason align with the scientific process? Why or why not?

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