How Mendel's interest in inheritance grew out of plant improvement

Peter J. van Dijk*, Franz J. Weissing, T. H. Noel Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Despite the fact that Gregor Mendel is generally respected as the founder of genetics, little is known about the origin of and motivation for his revolutionary work. No primary sources are known that discuss his work during the period of his pea crossing experiments. Here, we report on two previously unknown interconnected local newspaper articles about Mendel's work that predate his famous Pisum lectures by 4 years. These articles describe Mendel as a plant breeder and a horticulturist. We argue that Mendel's initial interests concerned crop improvement, but that with time he became more interested in fundamental questions about inheritance, fertilization, and natural hybridization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2018


  • Gregor Mendel
  • genetics
  • inheritance
  • plant breeding
  • horticulture

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