Scientists from all over the world gathered in Brno to celebrate Mendel

20. 7. 2022
Today we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of history's greatest scientific geniuses. To honor the famous geneticist Gregor Johann Mendel, scientific capacities from all over the world gathered in Brno, including three Nobel laureates, who will give lectures at an international genetics conference on Thursday. Today, the opening ceremony took place in the Augustinian Abbey in Old Brno, i.e. the place where Mendel discovered the basics of genetics.

According to one of the leading experts on Mendel, Daniel Fairbanks of Utah Valley University in the USA, Mendel’s legacy is complex and multifaceted. “Over the years, his experiments and theories have significantly influenced scientific progress in medicine and agriculture. His theory also caused controversy. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a group of influential scholars elevated his experiments and theory to the highest level,” said Fairbanks today at the opening ceremony of the conference, who also published a new book on Mendel this year.

Mendel’s legacy, he says, includes some of history’s most tragic and heroic episodes. For example, Josef Stalin promoted the anti-Mendelian claims of Trofim Lysenko, saying that Mendelism is a bourgeois pseudoscience of the West. “Several courageous scientists under Stalin’s dictatorial regime were imprisoned and some chose to sacrifice their lives rather than give up Mendelism,” said Fairbanks, who said the current conference will present a number of outstanding scientific findings that will commemorate Mendel, his life and his legacy for generations to come.

Evolutionary biologist Nils Stenseth, who works at the University of Oslo and is one of Mendel’s great promoters, recalled in his speech that Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mendel’s genetic laws are the cornerstone of modern biology and efforts to understand human nature and the nature around us. “Mendel’s contribution was not just a missing piece in a vast and complex scientific puzzle dominated by Darwin, as is sometimes claimed. A better analogy is a lock and a key, where each of the contributors is equally important to the resulting whole,” Stenseth emphasized.

Today’s ceremonial opening was attended, among others, by representatives of Brno universities, the South Moravian region and the city of Brno. A greeting was also read from Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who wished the participants of the remote conference an inspiring debate. According to him, Mendel was a “pioneer of an interdisciplinary approach”, it was said early this evening in the basilica in Staré Brno, where the opening ceremony took place. The basilica was full of distinguished guests. “Your interest shows that our city has a good name in the world of science, research and innovation, and thanks to Mendel, we have something to build on. The whole of Brno is celebrating Mendel’s anniversary,” said the mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková.

In total, the Mendel Genetics Conference is attended by almost 400 experts and scientific capacities from all over the world. 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.

The conference will feature Ada E. Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and Thomas Cech of the University of Colorado, who are Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, and Sir Paul Nurse of the Francis Crick Institute in London, who won the Nobel Prize in 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.

Link to the Conference: Conference – G.J.Mendel – Conference 2022 (

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