Advantages of Pisum sativum in Mendel’s Hybridization Experiments

Gregor Johan Mendel, the Father of Genetics, used Pisum sativum (garden pea) as the study material for his hybridization experiments. He studied the inheritance pattern of seven pairs of contrasting characters in Pisum sativum for deriving his conclusions.

A combination of luck, scientific aptitude, foresight, mathematical background and most importantly the selection of suitable plant material (i.e., Pisum sativum) for the studies contributed the success of Mendel’s hybridization experiments.

Advantages of Selecting Pea Plant for Experiment by Mendel

G. Mendel: Father of Genetics

Pisum sativum possesses many advantages as a study material in the hybridization experiment that knowingly or unknowingly helped Mendel to derive a logical conclusion from his crossing experiments.

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Advantages of Selecting Pea Plant for Experiment by Mendel

Ø  Pisum sativum is an annual plant with a short span of life cycle. Thus many generations can be produced within a short period of time.

Snow pea flowers

Ø  Pea plants possess many pairs of contrasting characters. These characters can be easily distinguished from each other such as plant height (tall and dwarf), shape of seed (round and wrinkled) colour of seeds (green and yellow) etc.

Ø  The characters studied by Mendel in pea plants shows typical dominance recessive relationships (we call this now as mendelian inheritance). This was another, perhaps the most important, luck factor in the success of Mendel’s work.

Ø  Flowers pea plants are bisexual (male and female parts present in the same plant) and hence hybridization experiments can be done easily.

Ø  The plant is predominantly self-pollinating, thus self-pollination process becomes easy.

Ø  The floral characters of Pisum sativum are ideal for artificial pollination, thus the emasculation and hybridization procedures become stress-free.

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Ø  Plant can be true breeding due to self-pollination. Thus homozygous conditions in the parents can be attained quickly by repeated selfing.

Ø  The hybrids (F1 generation) are fertile and thus the F2 generation can be successfully produced.

Ø  It is a small herbaceous plant and can be conveniently managed for hybridization experiments. They can be grown in the ground or in small containers (pots).

All these above mentioned factors contributed the success of Mendel’s Experiment.

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