A team of researchers decided to dig into Gregor Mendel’s grave and sequence his DNA in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth. Mendel is regarded as the father of genetics.
What is Gregor Mendel known for?
Scientist and Augustinian friar, Gregor Mendel served in a monastery in Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic. His research with pea plants established the fundamental principles of heredity. Mendel employed mathematics to investigate inheritance patterns when examining traits like flower color and plant height. To really get his numbers accurate and come up with the formulas, he examined a collection of roughly 25,000 plants. He was rather forward-thinking and imaginative in this sense.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
Why are researchers sequencing Mendel’s DNA?
Local academics discussed how to commemorate this significant occasion of his birth a few years ago. At Masaryk University in Brno, Sarka Pospisilova a geneticist said that after considering suggestions such as a festival, a scientific gathering, and a statue, a coworker posed the question, “What if they conduct a genetic examination of Mendel himself?” If the monastic authorities gave their consent, the proposal genuinely seemed feasible. They needed the blessing of the Augustinians in Rome and after consulting the bishop and Augustinians in Prague, the research team’s request was approved.
Five coffins were placed one on top of the other where Mendel’s tomb was unearthed. Mendel’s appeared to be near the bottom. The researchers weren’t entirely sure, but it was lined with some newspapers that were dated just before he passed away. The researchers decided to rummage through his personal belongings since they wanted some documentation to verify his identification.
Image Credits: Central European Institute of Technology
They were permitted to scrub Mendel’s microscope, his spectacles, and his papers available in local museum collections. One of his favorite astronomy books included a hair, which was also found. The researchers were confident that they had located Mendel’s body after examining the DNA from his belongings and comparing it to DNA in the skeleton. His entire genome was sequenced, and the researchers discovered genetic variations connected to diabetes, cardiac issues, and renal disease. One of his variants, according to geneticist Daniel Fairbanks, who wrote a book on Mendel, was particularly noteworthy.
Hints about Mendel’s life in his DNA
Mendel had quite serious nervous breakdowns throughout his life as a result of some form of psychiatric or neurological disease. A gene variation connected to epilepsy and other neurological problems can be seen in Mendel’s DNA. Mendel did request that his body be autopsied just before he passed away. He desired a scientific investigation of every aspect of life and death.
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