Heredity, Natural Selection, and Evolution

Early Studies in Heredity

Why was Mendel’s work disputed?

Some scientists feel that Mendel’s work was too perfect to be accurate, even though the validity of his conclusions were (and are) not in doubt. A closer look at Mendel’s work suggests that he may not have reported the inheritance of traits that did not show independent assortment, and thus he may have “skewed” some of his data. A British statistician and population geneticist, R. A. Fisher (1890–1962), pointed out in 1936 that Mendel’s data fit the expected ratios much closer than chance alone would indicate. However, Mendel’s published data is comparable to the work of others in his field, and his conclusions are still accepted as part of the core of genetics.


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