Mendel was an Austrian botanist, Augustinian monk, abbot, who discovered the fundamental principles of genetics and laid the foundations of modern genetics.
Mendel showed that the inheritance of these traits follows particular laws, now called Mendel's Laws of Heredity, about how inherited traits are passed on from generation to generation:
The law of unit characters (genes) says that characteristics of an individual are controlled by hereditary factors, by paired elementary units, now known as genes.
The law of dominance says that some inherited factors are dominant and can mask other, recessive factors.
The law of segregation says that the factors of a pair are separated during reproduction, so only one goes to a particular offspring.
The law of independent assortment which says that an organism's individual traits are passed on independently of one another.
Mendel's principle of incomplete dominance is that for some characteristics neither gene is dominant.
He published his results an 1865, but his paper was ignored. The importance of Mendel's work was not recognized until 1900, when three botanists , Carl Erich Correns, Erich Tschermak von Seysenegg, and Hugo de Vries working independently reached similar conclusions and, in the process, discovered his paper.
In the 1930s and 1940s the theory of modern evolutionary synthesis was created, which combined Mendelian genetics with Darwin's theory of natural selection.
His system proved to be of general application and is one of the basic principles of biology.
Upon recommendation of his physics teacher Friedrich Franz, he entered the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas in Brno in 1843. Born Johann Mendel, he took the name Gregor upon entering monastic life.
From 1844 to 1848 he studied at the Theological Institute Briinn. In 1847 he was ordained a priest and served for a short time as vicar at the Old Brno Monastery.
In 1851 he was sent to the University of Vienna to study, returning to his abbey in 1853 as a teacher, principally of physics.The Augustinians taught philosophy, foreign languages, mathematics, and natural sciences at secondary schools and universities.
At that time along with histeaching and theological studies Mendel took courses in agriculture, pomiculture, and vine growing at the Institute of Philosophy in Brno.
Surrounded by an atmosphere of dynamic activity, Mendel found optimum conditions for his studies and later for his research work. He was inspired by both his professors at university and his colleagues at the monastery to study variation in plants, which he conducted from 1856 to 1865 in the monastery's garden. Mendel was made abbot of the St. Thomas Monastery in 1868, and was not longer engaged in biological research.
Between 1856 and 1865 he performed experiments with the pea plant and his discoveries became the mathematical foundation and basis of the science of genetics.
In his spare time, during 10 years, he grew at least 29,000 pea plants. He carefully cross-pollinated them, wrapping to guard against cross pollination, then noted what sort of plants developed from the seeds.
He catalogued successive generations of pea plants with statistical precision, looking for clues to how distinct traits such as height (tall or short), flower color (green or yellow), and pod shape were reproduced.
Mendel was a good-natured and peaceful man. His parishioners, students and monks liked him. He did not have a wife and children.
From the forty years and until his death, Mendel was suffering from overweight.
In his monastic house was arranged a small menagerie.
Mendel died on 6 January 1884, at the age of 61, in Brünn (Brno), Moravia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic).