Gregor Mendel

Founder of Genetics

Who was Gregor Mendel?

Gregor Mendel was one of the first scientists to discover the building blocks of genes. He experimented with pea plants and made hybrid plants.

Early Years

Mendel was a gifted student in grade school, so he went to a boarding school in Opava, Germany. Then, he had to get a job as a tutor, because his parents could not afford the school. Although he was a very good classroom teacher, he could not pass the teaching exam. He failed 5 times.

Mendel never gave up!

Gregor Mendel finished his degree in 1853.

Experimental Design

Mendel used pea plants for his experiment because he knew he could get results faster than using something like an apple tree. He crossed different pea plants with different traits to see what would happen.


Here is some important vocabulary to know about Mendel's findings.

Dominant: a trait that overpowers the other traits

Example: A widow's peak is a dominant trait.

Recessive: A trait that is covered up by a dominant trait.

Example: Having a hitch-hiker's thumb is a recessive trait.

Co-Dominant: A trait that is neither dominant or recessive.

Example: White and chestnut coats are co-dominant traits in horses.


He found that yellow seeds were a dominant trait because when we crossed a yellow and a green plant, their seeds were always yellow.

He also found that round plants were dominant over angular plants. During his experiment there were 5,474 round plants and 1,850 angular plants.

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At first, scientists were very reluctant of Mendel's findings. They didn't think he discovered anything knew. They also didn't know how (or if) they could apply it to other organisms.


Gregor Mendel's findings are now called Mendel's Laws. Thanks to Mendel, we now know more about genetics and how we can apply them to every organism.