What Did Gregor Mendel Think He Discovered?
GREGOR MENDEL is accorded a special place in the history of genetics. His experiments, beautifully designed, were the first to focus on the numerical relationships among traits appearing in the progeny of hybrids; and his interpretation, clear and concise, was based on material hereditary elements that undergo segregation and independent assortment. Poignantly overshadowing the creative brilliance of Mendel’s work is the fact that it was virtually ignored for 34 years. Only after the dramatic rediscovery in 1900–16 years after Mendel’s death–was Mendel rightfully recognized as the founder of genetics. Mendelian mythmaking? This orthodox interpretation of Mendel’s contribution has recently been challenged as …a myth created by the early geneticists to reinforce the belief that the laws of inheritance are obvious to anyone who looks closely enough at the problem (Bowler 1989, p. 103). This opinion reflects revisionist views of Mendel and his intentions that have received considerable