Gregor Mendel, a Roman Catholic Monk

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A Roman Catholic monk, Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), was raised on a farm and enjoyed gardening and mathematics. In 1856 he started to experiment with pea plants to explain why certain traits that appeared in one generation did not always reappear in the next generation. During eight years Mendel mixed over 30,000 plants by controlling their pollination and wanted to know why the results came to be. Mendel noticed that although there were some traits that were common amongst all the pea plants there was over a dozen traits that were not such as seed coat color and texture. By cross breeding pea plants, each with a certain trait, he noticed that one trait seemed to overpower the other. By knowing this he was able to better predict the breeding outcomes. Mendel’s experiments brought the idea of dominant and recessive genes. A dominant gene sort of overpowers the recessive gene in that the dominant trait will be shown in the phenotype. However the recessive gene just does not go away. It is merely masked by the dominant gene. For example in pea plants the color yellow is dominant while the color green is recessive. If one parent has the homozygous genotype for the dominant color yellow and the second parent has the homozygous genotype for the recessive color green the phenotype of the offspring would be yellow. The offspring though would still carry the recessive gene for the color green and the genotype would be heterozygous with the color yellow still being dominant. During inheritance sometimes the allels from each parent can both be dominant. An example would be if one parent has the dominant gene for type A blood and the other parent has the dominant gene for type B blood the offspring would have type AB blood since neither gene can over dominate another dominant gene. Mendel’s first law was the principle of segregation. This states that “pairs of genes separate and keep their individuality and are passed on to the next generation, unaltered” (1). Mendel...
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