Sowing the seeds
Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) is hailed by many as the founder of genetics. He combined his duties as a friar in what is now the Czech Republic with cross-breeding pea plants. These experiments laid the foundations for the study of how traits are passed from parent to offspring, including the concepts of 'recessive' and 'dominant'. His work remained obscure until the turn of the twentieth century, when it was independently rediscovered by three scientists. William Bateson (1861-1926) is known as the father of genetics in Britain. As well as translating Mendel's work into English, he coined the scientific use of the term 'genetics' in 1905.