It is now common knowledge—but also a misbelief—that in 1905 William Bateson coined the term ‘genetics’ for the first time in his letter to Adam Sedgwick. This important term was already formulated 81 years ago in a paper written by a sheep-breeding noble called Imre (Emmerich) Festetics, who still remains somewhat mysterious even today. The articles written by Festetics summarized the results of a series of lasting and elegant breeding experiments he had conducted on his own property. Selecting the best rams, Festetics had painstakingly crossed and backcrossed his sheep to reach better wool quality. These experiments later turned out to reveal a better understanding of inheritance outlining genetics as a new branch of natural sciences.
The question often emerges as to why genetics started so late, relative to other sciences.
In its evolution towards genetics as a well-established scientific field in its own right, the history of ‘heredity’ has many plots and characters.