Friday, January 21, 2011

Mendelian inheritance

It is known that Mendel ordered 40 reprints of the paper that described the results of his now classic experiments, "Experiments on plant hybrids" published in the transactions of the Natural History Society of Brünn in 1866.

He sent these out to scientists he thought would be interested (possibly including Darwin). Only a single scientist responded and, unfortunately he steered Mendel completely wrong.

Karl (or Carl) von Nägeli, of the University of Munich, had previously experimented with hawkweed, a plant that follows an obscure asexual reproductive method. Mendel started experimenting with hawkweed, and began to question his findings from studying peas. He finally gave up all experimentation when he became abbot of the monastery, though he continued to dabble in ornamental horticulture.

Although very few of these 40 reprints survive, in a strange story last year Mendel's original manuscript has surfaced and has become the subject of an inheritance dispute (seriously): A Family Feud Over Mendel’s Manuscript on the Laws of Heredity

No comments: