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Johann Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), also known as the "father of genetics", was a teacher and scientist. Mendel worked under harsh conditions while making some of the most important discoveries in biology. In 1856, Mendel began a project in which he would investigate patterns of inheritance. Although he started his research using mice, he later switched to honeybees and plants, eventually deciding on peas as the main model organism.

 

Mendel studied the inheritance of seven different traits in peas, including size, flower colour, seed color and seed shape. In order to do this, he first classified the pea sprouts with two different characteristics, such as tall and short stature. He bred these pea sprouts for generations until he had pure offspring (always producing offspring similar to the parent), and then crossed these pure offspring with each other to study how traits were inherited.

 

Each time in the first generation after the cross he saw that one form of one trait overwhelms the other; such as length and shortness. Mendel called the apparent form the dominant trait and the latent form the recessive trait.

 

Mendel shared the results of his experiments on approximately 30,000 pea plants with the Natural History Society in 1865. Based on the patterns he observed, the data he collected, and the mathematical analysis of his results, Mendel proposed an inheritance model that includes:

 

- Characters such as flower color, plant height, and seed shape are controlled by dual factors, which are in different versions and can be passed on to future generations.

- One version of the factor (dominant form) may hide the presence of the other version (recessive form).

- Paired agents are separated during gamete production, so each gamete (sperm or egg) receives only one agent at random.

- Factors controlling different characters are inherited independently of each other.

 

Mendelian pea experiment is an important experiment for students to distinguish between phenotype and genotype, to understand monohybrid concept and genetic theory. However, in real life, it takes months for genetic analysis of next generations. For this reason, it cannot be possible for students to do it during school time.

 

On the other hand, Mendel and his peas experiment can be done in a few minutes in virtual laboratory. Students can do the genetic experimentation of different traits such as colour and shape in a short time.

 

 

The student can observe which feature is dominant over which feature by selecting the peas they want. After pollinating the peas, they take the off springs and germanite them. By this way, students can learn phenotypes and genotypes concepts.

 

 

The result of Mendel and his peas experiment indicate that the frequency of a trait in the second generation is always predictable if we know the frequencies in the first generation, even though we cannot explain why this phenomenon occurs. At the same time, students can have their own interpretations about each case, which means there are many opportunities for them to develop their critical thinking skills. In front of this technology education tool, students should not just be open-minded but also trust themselves on making science experiments by themselves and interpreting based on logics. Through VRLab Academy, students can have hands-on experience with a virtual plant lab in VRLab Academy that shows what Mendelian pea experiments are all about. They can learn much the same way Gregor Mendel did, using basic scientific principles to do real genetics work. They can do the same experiment a number of times, or try out different versions. This way, you will get new experiences and acquire new knowledge. This is an experiment that changes the world for students!

 

Take a look at all experiments at VRLab Academy and enhance your teaching power with us.

 

References:

https://cnx.org/contents/N23wBdBB@1.1:FYmHBZ4Q@1/Mendelian-Genetics-Probability-GPC