Gregor Mendel is considered the father of genetics.
In the 1850’s Gregor Mendel was a monk fascinated with pea plants.
Almost by accident, he discovered the field of genetics.
He choose pea plants for his study of Genetics because
They reproduce at a high rate which enabled Mendel to grow many plants
They have several traits like seed shape that are easy to observe
They are easy to cross-pollinate which allowed Mendel to determine which traits came from which parents.
In order to produce new plants, he had to fertilize the plants. Fertilization is the process of the egg and sperm joining to produce offspring.
A trait is a characteristic, like the color of the flower, that can be passed from one generation to another.
A trait is controlled by a section of DNA called a gene.
Traits have more than one form.
These different forms of the same trait are called alleles.
Mendel was careful to avoid self-pollination by removing the anthers of the flowers and carefully fertilized the plants himself.
An egg or a sperm only has half the genetic information of an organism.
The law of segregation states that only one allele will be present in the sperm or egg. When the egg and sperm are created the pairs of alleles of the parents separate, or as Mendel said,”segregate” from each other.
This helps explain why the offspring may have a different trait than the parent.
Important Genetic Vocabulary
Gene: A portion of DNA that contains the genetic code of a trait
Traits: A characteristic controlled by a gene
Allele: Different forms of the same trait
Gametes: A sperm or egg. Each contains half the genetic information of an organism.