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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2004

The Discoverer of Genetics

by  Justin Beard

Gregor Mendel was born into a farming family in what is now the Czech Republic. He excelled in the local school, and at the age of 21 Ehe entered the monastery at Brünn. He was a religious man who believed in God. He wanted to teach, but he failed his teaching exam. Mendel’s mentor, Abbot Napp, sent him to the University of Vienna. He tried out for a teaching job there, but he failed again.

In 1865, Mendel began experimenting with pea plants in the monastery garden. His experiments were designed brilliantly. Mendel sent copies of the documentations of his experiments to some famous scientists of his day, but they ignored him. He sent his experiments to the famous bota-nist Karl Nägeli of Munich, and asked him to recreate the experiment. Rather than re-create Mendel’s experiments, Nägeli sent Mendel a package of his favorite plant—hawkweed—and instructed him to recreate his experiment with this plant. Since the hawkweed plant is not like the pea plant (it is not self-pollinated), Mendel failed to recreate the experiment.

He then did an experiment on red and white flowers in which he crossed the flowers and produced a pink flower. Not only did he note that when you cross breed a red flower with a white flower you get a pink flower, but he counted how many pink flowers you get, because he thought it might be important.

After Mendel’s death, his experiment was forgotten. Years later, however, scientists rediscovered Mendel’s discoveries by studying roses. They did much work, only to rediscover what a man had discovered in the past—the mystery of genetics.

Gregor Mendel’s life shows us that you can be a committed believer in God and also a great scientist. Look at Mendel’s life. He discovered the mystery of genetics andbelieved in the Creation account. He also believed the passage in Genesis 1:12 that said everything produces after its own kind.

Gregor Mendel could see the evidence for God, and so can we.

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