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Wenn es noch nicht gelungen ist, ein allgemein giltiges Gesetz für die Bildung und Entwicklung der Hybriden aufzustellen, so kann das Niemanden Wunder nehmen, der den Umfang der Aufgabe kennt und die Schwierigkeiten zu würdigen weiss, mit denen Versuche dieser Art zu kämpfen haben.
That no one has succeeded so far in establishing a generally valid law for the formation and development of hybrids cannot astonish anyone who knows the extent of the task and can appreciate the difficulties with which experiments of this kind have to contend.

valid = giltig Both Bateson and Sherwood have “applicable”. Giltig is spelled gültig today, and refers to the validity of laws, independently of whether they apply or not.

formation and development = Bildung und Entwicklung Bildung is perhaps one of the most famous nineteenth-century concepts, connoting not only formation, but more precisely, self-formation through education and study. In the life sciences, the term had risen to prominence through Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s concept of a “formative drive” (Bildungstrieb, lat. nisus formativus) on which Mendel’s teacher at Vienna, Franz Unger, relied in his theory of evolution; see Sander Gliboff, “Evolution, Revolution, and Reform in Vienna: Franz Unger’s Ideas on Descent and Their Post-1848 Reception”, Journal of the History of Biology 31 (1998), pp. 179–209. As the addition of Entwicklung (see p. 3, s. 3, on this term) suggests, Mendel here probably just thought about the formation of the hybrid embryo by fertilisation (thus, e.g., p. 29, s. 9), but the association with Bildung in the broader sense would not have been lost on his audience; see Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, online-edition, s.v. “bildung” (1854), who claim that Bildung is a word that is “characteristic of our language” (für unsere mundart bezeichnend).

law = Gesetz A sentence in Bronn’s translation of Darwin’s Origin, which Mendel marked with a double line and exclamation mark, claims that there are “many laws regulating variation” (viele Gesetze, die die Abänderung regulieren); see Charles R. Darwin, Über die Entstehung der Arten im Thier- und Pflanzen-Reich durch natürliche Züchtung, oder, Erhaltung der vervollkommneten Rassen im Kampfe um’s Daseyn, 2nd ed., transl. by H. G. Bronn (Stuttgart: Schweizerbart, 1863), Mendel Museum, Collection of the Augustinian Abbey, p. 20, and Charles R. Darwin, On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life, 3rd ed. (London: John Murray, 1861), p. 11. Interestingly, Darwin goes on to cite a developmental law as an example in the next sentence, namely the law of “correlation of growth” according to which “[a]ny change in the embryo or larva will almost certainly entail changes in the mature animal”. A section in Gärtner’s Versuche und Abhandlungen that discusses “laws” (Gesetzmäßigkeiten) governing hybrid formation was heavily annotated by Mendel; see Carl Friedrich Gärtner, Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreich (Stuttgart: Hering, 1849), Mendel Museum, Collection of the Augustinian Abbey, pp. 232–236. Mendel explicitly picks up the agenda of formulating a law governing the formation of hybrids again on p. 7, s. 4, and p. 18, s. 7.

experiments = Versuche Mendel uses two terms for “experiment” throughout his paper, Versuch and Experiment. He uses them largely synonymously but sometimes seems to distinguish implicitly between individual experiments that test a particular hypothesis and an overall, systematically constructed set of such experiments (see especially p. 7, s. 4f.). We prefer “experiment” for both Versuch and Experiment, but use “trial” occasionally when individual experiments within in a larger setting of experimental inquiry are clearly intended. Versuch derives from the verb suchen, which means to attempt or search for something. A third term, used twice in the sense of experiment, is Probe, which we have translated as “test” (p. 6, s. 7; p. 28, s. 1). Mendel received practical training in the planning and efficient execution of experiments when studying at the University of Vienna in 1851 with the mathematicians and physicists Christian Andreas Doppler (1803–1853) and Andreas Freiherr von Ettingshausen (1796–1878).

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