Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Mendel's Law


IN his letter of last week detailing his most interesting experiments on cross-bred maize, Mr. R. H. Lock makes the following statement:—“I see from the published account of a recent discussion at the Cambridge meeting of the British Association that the facts of Mendelian segregation are still disputed by the biometric school of evolutionists.” Now it is easy to make a general statement about some vaguely defined group of men, and I have no right to speak for biometricians as a body. But as inventor of the term biometry, I may perhaps be allowed to say what I understand by it as a science, and to restate what I said with some emphasis at the Cambridge meeting. Biometry is only the application of exact statistical methods to the problems of biology. It is no more pledged to one hypo-thesis of heredity than to another, but it must be hostile to all treatment which uses statistics without observing the laws of statistical science. The criticism which has been published in Biometrika upon Mendelian work has attacked its too frequent want of method and of logic, and I think no one can have read recent literature without seeing that the criticism has been effective in its aim. Even Prof. Tschermak now allows a large influence to ancestry, although he asserts that the offspring are not distributed “in the proportions of Galton and Pearson.” As I have never distributed the offspring in fixed proportions, I may perhaps be content with the admission.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

PEARSON, K. Mendel's Law. Nature 70, 626–627 (1904).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing