The significance of Gregor Mendel’s discovery of a process of biological evolution (how recessive and dominant traits are passed from one generation of living organisms to the next) was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century. But the independent rediscovery of these laws formed the foundation of the modern science of genetics. The activities in this lesson will help you understand Mendel’s seminal work and how it supports biological evolution.
Go to the Pea Experiment. This online activity lets you breed your own hybrid pea plants.
Once you get to the site, read the first page, then click on the box, Begin the Experiment. Be sure to jot down what you breed for parents and what the results are for the offspring. You will discuss these questions in class:
- What did you notice about traits in offspring peas?
- Do you think that the breeding of peas could demonstrate natural selection and therefore biological evolution?
- How might these traits affect the species as a whole?
Your teacher will provide instruction on how to utilize these resources:
Answer these questions. You may refer back to Experiments in Plant Hybridization (1865), if necessary.
- Discuss Mendel's methodology. What were some of the careful considerations that Mendel made? Do you think his methodology was good? Why or why not?
- Describe the results of Mendel's pea experiment. Describe how recessive and dominant traits behave from generation to generation. Also discuss new traits.
- Describe how Mendel's breeding of peas demonstrated natural selection.
- How does this in turn support biological evolution?
- How did he control the species that he experimented with? How might these traits affect the survival of these species in the wild? What do new traits have to do with survival?
This esheet is a part of the A Mendel Seminar lesson.