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Einige ganz selbstständige Formen aus diesem Geschlechte besitzen constante, leicht und sicher zu unterscheidende Merkmale, und geben bei gegenseitiger Kreuzung in ihren Hybriden vollkommen fruchtbare Nachkommen.
Some entirely autonomous forms from this genus possess constant, easily and clearly distinguishable traits and, once crossed with each other, render completely fertile descendants in their hybrids.

autonomous = selbstständig Bateson has “thoroughly distinct”, Sherwood “quite distinct”. The adjective selbstständig (usually spelled selbständig today) can also be translated as “independent” (a translation Bateson and Sherwood sometimes choose) or “self-contained”, literally meaning “standing on its own”. Despite its unidiomatic ring in biological contexts, we translate this as “autonomous” because there is one instance in which Mendel uses selbstständig and unabhängig (which can really only be translated as “independent”) in one and the same sentence in order to explain that “autonomous” hybrid traits develop “independently” of each other (see p. 35, s. 3). He uses selbstständig, or the substantive derived from it (Selbstständigkeit ) with reference to species (p. 6, s. 15), varieties (p. 37, s. 2) and the organism (p. 40, s. 13).

forms = Formen See p. 3, s. 8.

constant = constante See p. 5, s. 5.

distinguishable = zu unterscheidende Bateson has “recognizable”, we follow Sherwood in our translation.

genus = Geschlecht In contemporary German, Gattung would be the conventional term for “genus” in the taxonomic sense. Geschlecht, which can also mean “family line” or “gender”, was quite commonly used, however, to refer to plant and animal genera in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century natural history texts; see Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, online-edition, s.v. “geschlecht, II.6.d” (1893).

in their hybrids = in ihren Hybriden This curious expression is due to the fact that Mendel was partly working with seed characters, i.e. traits that already appear on the seeds that the hybrid plants produce from a cross, and hence “in” or “on” these plants. This allowed him to observe F1 and F2 within one and the same vegetation season; see Federico di Trocchio, “Mendel’s experiments: a reinterpretation”, Journal of the History of Biology 24 (1991), 485–519, on this point.

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