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The rise of evolutionary biology - What was the impact of Mendel's theory of inheritance?


Mendel's theory of heredity

In Darwin's time, Mendel's theory of heredity was not generally known.

Gregor Mendel (1822 - 1884) was a monk, later abbot, in St Thomas's Augustinian monastery in what was then Brunn in Austria-Hungary and is now Brno in the Czech Republic.

Mendel discovered the laws of heredity in about 1856 - 1863 by conducting extensive experiments in plant hybridization. Nobody took much notice of his laws of heredity until some years after his death.

However, Mendelism has been the generally accepted theory of heredity since the 1920s, and is the basis of all modern genetics. It was destined eventually to allow a revival of Darwin's theory; but its initial effect, in the first two decades of the century, was the exact opposite: the early Mendelians all opposed Darwin's theory of natural selection.

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