Gregor Mendel

taguebwREMOVE at wfu.edu taguebwREMOVE at wfu.edu
Sat Oct 23 12:53:04 EST 1999


Hey plant ed'ers,

We all know that the really important scientific findings are discovered
in plants first (the field of genetics, viruses, gasses as signalling
molecules, etc. etc. etc) and that the animal, fungal and prokaryotic
folks are jealous.... For example, I'm currently using a text book for my
cell and molecular biology class that seems to take a bit of a sideways
swipe at my hero Gregor Mendel. I also seem to remember talk a few years
back about data fudging when it comes to Mendel's 3:1 ratios.

One problem, of course, is Mendel's law of independent assortment. We now
know that genes can be linked and therefore tend to be inherited together.
The seven major traits that Mendel followed showed no linkage; that's how
Gregor got his law of independent assortment.

Now the book I'm using (Karp: Cell and Molecular Biology, 2nd ed) says
"Whether Mendel owed his findings to good fortune or simply to a lack of
interest in any traits that did not fit his predictions remains unclear
(P. 417)." It is particularly the second of these possibilities that seems
like a bit of a swipe.

So what is the latest on my hero Gregor? Was he lucky? Did he look at
other traits and discard them from analysis? DId he discard them because
they didn't fit his predictions? Did he discard them to concentrate on
well-behaved traits that could be attacked statistically? Did he fudge his
data?

Gregor did some amazing science some 50  years ahead of his time. What's
the latest on him?

Thanks

Brian

-- 
My 2 electrons,

Brian

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