• Open Access

Gregor Mendel's classic paper and the nature of science in genetics courses


Julie F. Westerlund, 601 University Drive, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA. E-mail: jw33@txstate.edu


The discoveries of Gregor Mendel, as described by Mendel in his 1866 paper Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden (Experiments on plant hybrids), can be used in undergraduate genetics and biology courses to engage students about specific nature of science characteristics and their relationship to four of his major contributions to genetics. The use of primary source literature as an instructional tool to enhance genetics students’ understanding of the nature of science helps students more clearly understand how scientists work and how the science of genetics has evolved as a discipline. We offer a historical background of how the nature of science developed as a concept and show how Mendel's investigations of heredity can enrich biology and genetics courses by exemplifying the nature of science.