Gregor Mendel, a Catholic friar who lived in a Czech abbey in the 19th century, carried out a series of experiments using pea plants to prove that an individual’s traits and characteristics are inherited. For this, Mendel was recognized posthumously to be the father of modern genetics.
Click through to see why his mind would be blown if he were alive today.
Mendel loved nature, and studied agriculture, viniculture and natural science.
He knew that gardeners could cross breed two plants to make new color variants, and became curious why those colors reappeared in the offspring of the hybrid parents. So he grew and cross-pollinated pea plants for years, putting together parents that grew peas of different shapes and colors.
Carefully recording the characteristics succeeding generations of plants displayed, Mendel developed a theory of inheritance after breeding and observing more than 10,000 plants. He published this work in the 1860s, which would eventually serve as the foundation of modern genetics.
Today, researchers have decoded the human genome and within sight is the complete sequencing of a person’s entire DNA makeup for under $1,000. Genome sequencing is poised to be a part of routine medical care, and researchers are constantly finding new links between genes, traits and diseases. Mendel’s mind would be blown.