Inheritance, mendelian: The manner in which genes and traits are passed from parents to their children. The four modes of Mendelian inheritance are autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X-linked dominant and X-linked recessive.
The term "mendelian" refers to the great Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel (1822-84) who formulated the laws forming the foundation of classical genetics. Mendel was a monk whose controlled experiments with breeding peas in the monastery garden led him to conclude that the heritable units we now call genes were not blends of parental traits but separate physical entities passed individually in specific proportions from one generation to the next. Mendel's discoveries were ignored for several decades, but other biologists finally recognized their significance early in the 20th century.
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