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Austrian biologist, born in 1822 and died in 1884, who laid the foundations for the science of genetics, Mendel was a monk whose controlled experiments with breeding peas in the monastery garden led him to conclude that the heritable units we now call genes were not blends of parental traits but separate physical entities passed individually in specific proportions from one generation to the next. Mendel's discoveries were ignored for several decades, but other biologists finally recognized their significance early in the 20th century.
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