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The gene was the first vehicle of information transfer

The Ancient Greeks noticed that characteristics are passed between generations. Nineteenth-Century plant breeders then strove to understand heredity. They had little success until scientist and monk Gregor Mendel applied rigorous scientific techniques.

Focusing on the pea, he developed the theory that in the first generation after breeding, one characteristic tends to dominate over another. But the seemingly lost characteristic re-emerges in the second generation, but is outnumbered three to one by the dominant one.

Mendel proposed that particles (we now call them genes) are passed on through breeding which help determine character. Implicit in this was the idea of information transfer.