Mendel's Peas: The Discovery of Genetics with Dr. Anil Antony

Mendel's Peas: The Discovery of Genetics with Dr. Anil Antony


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Almost every schoolchild today uses a Punnett square to learn the basic laws of genetics. Those squares were first put to that use in the early 1800s, by an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel, who never knew that his discovery would one day be world-famous. This interactive will look at the biography of this influential figure in science and world history.

Gregor Mendel really loved peas. He was an enthusiastic pea farmer. He tested 29,000 pea plants, trying to create the ideal variety. These experiments became the foundation of the modern study of heredity, and he became known as the father of modern genetics. Originally trained as a physicist, he also studied astronomy, and most of his published work is in meteorology. His pea research remained unknown until the 1900s. Had Darwin been aware of it, it would almost certainly have been cited in Origin of the Species.

Today, genetics surrounds us. What Mendel called “factors” are now the basis of Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and genetically modified crops. Darwin had to say, “The laws governing inheritance are quite unknown,” but the modern world relies on them.

Led by Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony, an expert with a PhD in cell and developmental biology, this interactive seminar will discuss the biography of Gregor Mendel, his famous experiments, and their implications for other areas of science, both at the time and into the modern world.. Designed to inform as well as educate, participants will emerge with a greater understanding of an important scientific figure.

Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony is an assistant director of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer research organization. He holds a PhD in Cell and Developmental biology and a lifelong interest in the history and culture of south India. Born in the Muslim-majority United Arab Emirates to an Anglo-Indian Catholic family and trained by a Hindu tantric in Kerala, he has direct experience of all three major Keralite religious traditions.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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