The History of Genetics Explained



The history of genetics goes all the way back to Hippocrates who first suggested the idea of pangenesis and inheritance. After this Aristotle came along and said that it was actually all in our blood and from there to the 17th Century, that’s as much as we knew.

Lamarck introduced his ideas that acquired characteristics were inherited (Lamarckism) but Wallace then appeared and together him and Darwin, the most famous naturalist of all time, proposed inheritance through natural selection and evolution. Mendel supported this in the 20th Century and Haeckel found the orders for inheritance came from the nucleus of a cell.

From the 1920s onward we have discovered DNA, mapped and copied it, found the genes, the amino acids and the orders in which to build them!

The history of genetics is advancing into the future of genetics, where we can map a whole genome and use it to see if a person will have a disease, we can tag DNA and replicate whole strands of it. The future of genetics is indeed possibly more fascinating than its history!

James Carson graduated from the University of York with a degree in English and History and have a keen interested in both World Wars and popular science - particularly space.