Gregor Mendel's Genome Sequenced

When I first saw the headline that Mendel’s genome had been sequenced I thought it was pretty cool given his importance in our understanding of genetics, not to mention that he would have just turned 200 years old. Turns out the story is a lot richer than I thought.

My second reaction was “How dare they?!”. Who are modern scientists to recklessly dig up some old person?

After reading the article above, it makes a lot more sense given the bicentennial of Mendel’s birth. They first sought the permission of the Augustinian monks, both locally and at higher levels. They agreed. Interestingly, Mendel had requested an autopsy of his body upon his death, so Mendel certainly wasn’t against research being done on his body. Mendel was buried with other monks, so identifying his body wasn’t straightforward. It involved newspaper found in the coffin, and a hair found in one of Mendel’s journals. So there’s a bit of sleuthing involved as well.

What I found most interesting is that they found a genetic marker associated with epilepsy and neurological issues. Mendel had suffered from neurological issues, and here were the genetic markers that could explain it. At this point, I would think Mendel would have been very proud of his work and its influence on science which resulted in scientists a century later finding a genetic trait associated with his ailment. While Mendel isn’t here with us, perhaps we could be proud for him.


cool story! Thanks for sharing.

Interesting story! Maybe we can clone him…

Hate to say it, but when I read of it, my thoughts went to “How long do you get to be buried before someone digs you up without it being considered rude?’

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