Which field of research would Gregor Mendel choose in the 21st century?

Plant Cell. 2022 Mar 3;koac072. doi: 10.1093/plcell/koac072. Online ahead of print.


Gregor Mendel's work on segregation of traits in plants established the basic methodology and rules of genetics. The interruption of Mendel's research activities in 1870 impeded the immediate recognition of the value of his work until the dawn of the 20th century. Only then were his founding laws of genetics validated, propelling the development of biological research towards the birth of molecular biology in the second half of the 20th century. While molecular plant genetics can be viewed as the spiritual heir of Mendel's research, one might wonder whether in the 21st century Gregor Mendel would prefer to practice scientific approaches other than molecular genetics such as population genetics, comparative genomics, or the emerging field of evo-chromo. In this perspective I review aspects of these fields that might have attracted or perplexed a 21st century Mendel.