Bateson's image of Mendel was clearly colored by his strong opposition to thescientific credentials of late nineteenth century Darwinian research. Mendelheld the key to evolution, but it was not the same key as Loren Eiseleybelieved (see ), for it was opening a vista in which variation, notnatural selection held sway. Clearly Bateson was using Mendel in support ofhis bold attempt to redirect evolutionary studies toward experiment, and toalign them with the work of the practical man. The fact that Mendel was sogood an example of just such an alignment served Bateson well in hispersistent and largely successful efforts to gain funding and institutionalstatus for Mendelian researches. His picture of Mendel's theory ofhybridization was colored also by his dislike of Weismann's cytologicalspeculations. Being committed to a dynamical and holistic view of the cell, andopposed to a morphological and reductionist view, Bateson did not claim forMendel the conception of material particles located in the nucleus. Rather, heemphasized the segregation process as an event concerning the whole cell.
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What were these principles? Before we answer that question let us identifywhat we regard as the principles of the science we know as genetics. Clearlythe experimental approach is that of cross-breeding, but this method as usedby the practical breeder is not enough. The forms crossed must be of provenconstancy of type, the character differences need to be recorded for allparents and offspring so that their hereditary transmission can be followedfrom generation to generation, and the numbers of offspring raised need to besufficient to yield statistically significant results. For anyone who has readMendel's paper of 1865 there is no question that Mendel did enunciate theseprinciples. Over the years 1856 to 1861 he raised some 10,000 plants ofvarieties of the edible pea (Pisum sativum) which he had tested forpurity of type over a two year period. He followed the transmission of sevenspecially selected traits - round-seeded plants with wrinkled-seeded plants,tall plants with short, green-seeded with yellow-seeded, etc. Heself-fertilized their progeny to discover if they returned or reverted to oneor other of their originating forms. He found that they did, but in a quiteremarkable manner. When he surveyed the total number of hybrid offspringcarrying one or other of the contrasted characters - tall or short, etc. - theyshowed an integral relationship, one contrasted character being present inthree times as many plants as the other. This 3 : 1 ratio [and its resolutioninto the three-fold ratio 1 : 2 : 1] formed the key to the genetic analysis ofall hereditary traits conforming to Mendelian heredity.
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Additionally , he is known for coining the genetic terms "recessive" and "dominant" in an effort to refer to certain traits in the experiments, such as green peas being recessive and yellow ones dominant....