Mendel's anniversary will be commemorated in Brno by scientists from all over the world, including three Nobel laureates

14. 7. 2022
Almost 400 experts from all over the world will come to Brno for the Mendel Genetics Conference, which is the culmination of the celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of genetics, Gregor Johann Mendel. Three Nobel Prize winners will be among the speakers. The conference takes place from July 20 to 23. The latest findings in the field will be discussed and answers to key questions about the origin of life in plant and human cells, evolution, heredity, genetic diseases or the application of new genomic technologies in medicine or agriculture will be discussed.

Ada E. Yonath z Weizmann from the Institute of Science in Israel and Thomas Cech from the University of Colorado, who are laureates of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will speak at the conference, which will begin and end directly in the Augustinian Abbey in Stary Brno. Also Sir Paul Nurse from the Francis Crick Institute in London, who received the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine. All three Nobel laureates, as well as other foreign and domestic participants, appreciate that part of the conference program will take place directly in the monastery where Abbot Mendel lived and worked, studied heredity on pea plants, kept bees or founded a meteorological station.

“We are honored to welcome scientists from five world continents. By inviting all participants to the abbey, we would like to show that the creative community of Augustinians, supporting science and education, and the environment of Stary Brno also contributed to Mendel’s phenomenal discovery,” said Father Jozef Ržonca, OSA from the Order of St. Augustine.

A meeting of scientists who follow up on Mendel’s discoveries with their research and further develop his knowledge is the best way to give symbolic thanks and remember the legacy of a thinker who is rightly compared to the giants of science, such as Darwin, Copernicus or Einstein. At the same time, experts not only from our university, but also from the whole of the Czech Republic and abroad are becoming an integral part of the development of modern genetics and related fields, the results of which affect each of us and the whole society in everyday life,” said Šárka Pospíšilová, vice-rector for science from the co-organizing Masaryk university.

“The personality of G.J. Mendel significantly goes beyond the framework of our environment, and his professional focus cannot be simply classified into any category. From today’s perspective, he was a representative of multidisciplinarity with the ability to apply knowledge and modelling. For me personally, it is a symbol of diligence and humility, the ability to present and defend one’s thoughts and conclusions. But also the ability to think outside-the-box with regard to own theories of results,” said Rector Jan Mareš from the co-organizing Mendel University in Brno.

Today, genetics is closely connected with many other scientific fields, it forms one of the central pillars of modern biology and medicine, but it is of great importance for the whole society. This was also evident in the case of the covid-19 pandemic. The conference program will also include discussion blocks focused on the history and future of genetics, new technologies and specific topics related to ethical issues in genetics.

Other organizers of the scientific conference, which is also supported by UNESCO, are the Moravian Museum and Společné, o.p.s.

“For the Moravian Regional Museum, cooperation at the scientific conference represents an opportunity to contribute to the integrity of the picture of the contribution of J.G. Mendel to the world. The Mendelianum Center, which is located in the authentic premises where Mendel first published the results of his experiments with plant hybrids in 1865, has been engaged in historical research and promotion of Mendel’s life and work for 50 years,” said Jiří Mitáček, general director of the Moravian Museum.

“Our organization has singled out the promotion of the life and work of the founder of genetics as one of the main goals, among other things, because J.G. Mendel is still better known abroad than at home. This year’s jubilee year, 200 years since his birth, we want to change that,” reminded Jakub Carda from Společné, o.p.s. The professional conference will be followed by the Mendel Festival from July 22 to 24, which will convey the current knowledge of genetic research to the general public and will also bring a number of cultural experiences.

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