DeVries, Correns, and Tschermak.

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Julie Solyar

Honors Post-AP Advanced Topics in Biology

Mr. Seigman

December 11, 2003

                                DeVries, Correns, and Tschermak

        Three botanists, Hugo De Vries, Carl Erich Correns, and Erich Von Tschermark-Seysenegg, made possible for the spread and understanding of Mendel’s work that has led to the modern understanding of the gene today. They re-discovered Mendel’s laws in 1900 by independently working on plant hybrids. Their discoveries paved the way for the connection between Mendelian genetics and medicine, which was instigated by Archibald Garrod. This was complimented by greater discoveries in genetics, especially by Thomas Hunt Morgan, Herman J Muller, George Beadle, and Edward Tatum.

        Hugo de Vries (1848-1935) worked at the University of Amsterdam in 1880, as a professor of botany. Simultaneously, he worked on a series of genetic hybridization experiments. Working with the Oenothera lamarckiana (the evening primrose), de Vries was able to produce his theory of mutation. He agreed with discontinuous variation, staging that species evolve from other species by large sudden phenotypic changes. In his case, he noticed that a plant would usually have offspring that contained noteworthy differences from it such as leaf shape or plant size. These offspring would then occasionally pass these traits to their offspring. Ignoring that these traits observed in the primrose usually were from aberrant chromosomal segregations and not mutation, de Vries certainly had the right idea. Although he did not know of Mendel’s work, when he published his work in 1990, he concluded with identical results. When he first published his work in French, it did not credit Mendel; however, this was later amended in his German publication.

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        In Munich Germany, Carl Erich Correns (1864-1933) entered the University of Munich in 1885. With the help of Nageli, Correns interests in botany and the study of genetic traits grew. From Nageli, Correns knew about Mendel’s hawkweed plant experiments; however, he never learned of Mendel’s principal pea plant experiments. By 1990; however, he became aware of Mendel’s conclusions and acknowledged Mendel in the publishing of his work, G. Mendel’s Law Concerning the Behavior the Progeny of Racial Hybrids. In contrast to de Vriens, Correns was a strong believer that credit should be given where it is deserved. Most notably, Correns restated ...

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