The History of Genetics

Throughout history, humans have always wondered why different organisms look different from each other. Even organisms of the same species have variations. For many centuries, humans did not have an answer to these questions. This all changed when the study of genetics was introduced. Genetics is the study of heredity or the study of how traits are passed from parents to offspring.

Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, is known as the father of genetics. He was one of those people who were intrigued about the variety of traits that organisms pass down through generations. In the 1890s, Mendel began his studies by observing traits in pea plants. He observed height, color, and shape of the pea plants. He was able to pollinate one plant with pollen from another in a controlled manner. This way he could observe the passing of certain traits independently.

One of the biggest discoveries Mendel made was that some offspring plants showed characteristics that were not directly seen in its parent plants. This led him to believe that traits can be carried and passed without showing any physical signs of being present. He performed many generations of pollination in order to prove his notion. During his further experimentation, he also discovered that each trait has two genes and each parent gives one gene from the set to their offspring.

Today, the study of genetics is extremely sophisticated. Not only can geneticists predict what traits an offspring can have but all of the genes and traits can be observed before producing an offspring. Geneticists can inform you of certain traits you carry.

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