Péter Poczai is a doctor of plant health (MSc) and plant geneticist (PhD). He received his degrees at the University of Pannonia and was awarded with a Pro Sciencia Medal in 2007. He is a former Eötvös, CIMO and Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) fellow. Currently he is the curator of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and a docent of the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE), University of Helsinki and serves as the CITES Scientific Authority of Finland. His research focuses on evolutionary relationships of various land plant groups and are guided by investigating bold questions related to the development of plant life on Earth. He is integrating different aspects theoretical and experimental aspects of biology into a complex evolutionary framework.
The forgotten legacy of Emmerich Festetics
The question often emerges as to why genetics started so late, relative to other sciences? Most students are still taught that the discipline of genetics began with Mendel, and would be surprised to learn that many of the central principles were formulated before Mendel was born, also in Brno where Mendel later worked, and through the study of sheep rather than peas. Inasmuch as a single individual can be credited for pre-Mendelian genetics, it is Count Emmerich Festetics, a sheep breeder based in Kőszeg (Hungary), who remains as obscure today as Mendel is famous. The current research aims to investigate why the work of Emmerich Festetics was forgotten and why it did not trigger a paradigm shift in the early 19 century.