Past Event

How Did We Get Here From Mendel?

View this event and others in the Future Perfect series on-line or on television via the Illinois Channel.

Genetic research began somewhat modestly, with Gregor Mendel, the “father of genetics,” observing the inheritance of traits in pea plants in his abbey in 1856.

Genetic science has evolved substantially from Gregor Mendel’s early experiments with peas to current research on how humans might one day regrow severed or damaged limbs.

What have been the key developments in genetics? How has organized religion’s relationship to genetic science evolved over time — from providing support for Mendel to do his work, to its current role in policy debates on stem cell research?

The panel will also explore moments in history when genetic science was used for purposes of discrimination and genocide, specifically in Nazi Germany. How did eugenics become policy in Nazi Germany? This program will bring together scientists and historians to examine the history of genetic science from Mendel to the present.

Audience members will have the opportunity to view the exhibition “Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics” from 7:30-9:00pm.


  • Dr. Garland Allan, Professor, Biology, Washington University – St. Louis
  • Dr. Patricia Heberer, Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim (moderator), Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dominican University
  • Dr. Brent Waters, Director of the Stead Center for Ethics and Values, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary


This program is presented in partnership with the American Medical Association and The Field Museum.

Reservations required. Reservations can be made on-line, via email, or by calling 312.422.5580.


If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit Chicago Parking