Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas


How do mothers and fathers–whether they are apple trees, sheep, or humans–pass down traits to their children? This question fascinated Gregor Mendel throughout his life. Regarded as the world’s first geneticist, Mendel overcame poverty and obscurity to discover one of the fundamental aspects of genetic science: animals, plants, and people all inherit and pass down traits through the same process, following the same rules.

Living the slow-paced, contemplative life of a friar, Gregor Mendel was able to conceive and put into practice his great experiment: growing multiple generations of peas. From observing yellow peas, green peas, smooth peas, and wrinkled peas, Mendel crafted his theory of heredity–years before scientists had any notion of genes.

Children will be inspired by Gregor’s never-ending search for knowledge, and his famous experiments are easy to understand as an introduction to genetics.

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