Mendelian Genetics: What is it?

For a long time, many farmers and herders followed a selective approach when cultivating plants and raising livestock. The process was an uncertain one since there was no surety that the approach will work. We were able to gain proper knowledge on genetic mechanisms through various breeding experiments on laboratories conducted throughout the last 150 years.

The primary focus of Mendel's research was on plants, but they could be applied to people and other animals as well. It was because the mechanisms of heredity are similar for all complex life forms.

Mandel’s research shows that the selective cross-breeding of pea plants over many generations tend to display some individual traits on the offspring plant that never existed on the parent characteristics. For example, the purple/white pea flowers cannot be seen in the offspring cross-bred pea plants. Mandel’s research found out seven essential traits that can be easily recognized. They are listed below:

  • Purple/white colored flower
  • Green/yellow colored seed
  • Axil/terminal positioned flower
  • Restricted/bloated state of pod
  • Long/short stem
  • Green/yellow colored pod
  • Round/wrinkly shaped seed

The fact that the offspring plant does not share the same trails as their parent’s in Mandel’s research is a matter of great significance. Many renowned researchers and scientist from the 19th century accepted this specific “blending theory.” In fact, Charles Darwin proposed another equally critical theory that was proven wrong. The name of the argument was “pangenesis”. This theory was, in fact, a variation of Lamarck’s idea(incorrect) of the "inheritance of acquired characteristics."

Mandel’s research correctly picked the common garden pea plants to focus. They can be easily cultivated in large numbers, and the reproduction can also be altered. Pea plants contain both male and female reproductive organs. In Mandel’s research and experiments, he was able to cross-pollinate successfully (selectively) with other plants. His research was able to provide firm conclusion regarding the nature of genetic inheritance.