PerspectiveHistory of Science

Beyond the “Mendel-Fisher controversy”

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  09 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6257, pp. 159-160
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3846

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


One hundred and fifty years ago, Gregor Mendel delivered his lectures on “Experiments on Plant Hybrids,” going on to publish them in 1866 (1). Around the world, celebrations of the monk whose work with pea varieties made him the father of genetics are under way. Mendel has alas acquired another, less auspicious title, as “the father of scientific misconduct,” owing to suspicions that he faked some of his data (2). The suspicions have turned out to be groundless (3, 4). Along the way, however, they not only damaged Mendel's reputation unfairly but, as a look at the history of the controversy shows, sent critical discussion of his data down a sidetrack.