The Questions Of Fit In The Gregor Mendel Controversy

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3 Scopus citations


Ever since R. A. Fisher published his 1936 article, “Has Mendel’s Work Been Rediscovered?1’, historians of both biology and statistics have been fascinated by the surprisingly high conformity between Gregor (Johann) Mendel’s observed and expected ratios in his famous experiments with peas. Fisher’s calculated x2 statistic of the experiments, taken as a whole, suggested that results on a par or better than those Mendel reported could only be expected to occur about three times in every 100,000 attempts. The ensuing controversy as to whether or not the good Faoher “sophisticated” his data has continued to this very day. In recent years the controversy has focused upon the more teclinical question of what underlying genetic arrangement Mendel actually studied. The statistical issues of the controversy are examined in an historical and comparative perspective. The changes the controversy has gone through are evaluated, and the nature of its current, more biological, status is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2289-2304
Number of pages16
JournalCommunications in Statistics - Theory and Methods
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983


  • P-value
  • chi-square
  • goodness of fit
  • histroy of science
  • understimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability


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