• Darwin is credited with the theory of natural selection.
• He talked about variations that occurred in organisms and these variations accumulated over time, giving rise to new organisms.
• However, Darwin did not know about the source of these variations. (We now know that mutation, recombination, and immigration of genes are responsible for variations in a population.)
• Mendel on the other hand was trying to find out what was causing the genetic and physical changes in the pea plants he was crossing.
• He said that there were “factors” that were being passed down from generation to generation through gametes. (We now know that these “factors” are none other than genes.)
• In both Mendel’s and Darwin’s theories, genes were playing a role but they remained unaware of it.
• Were they aware of each other’s work, it is possible that Darwin could have explained the origin of variation.
• Mendel’s work talked of “factors” being passed down and Darwin believed that changes were occurring and accumulating, so the possibility of Darwin explaining the source of variation is high.
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