Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, liked to play the lottery. I imagine him lining up with everyone else at some rickety stall in the market place to take his chances at winning the big one — $25,000 guilders. (A little over 14,000 dollars at today’s exchange rates.)
He evidently gave up playing and got about the business of life, going to college and deciding at 21 to become a monk. Always a smart guy, between monk duties and teaching he got interested in how physical characteristics passed from one generation to another.
By growing peas for 8 years he discovered that both parents equally contribute to their kids’ gene pools; it’s the mix of dominant and recessive traits that decides Junior will have red hair like crazy Grandpa Jake.
Too bad Mendel died (1822 – 1884) before the rest of the world caught up with his ideas. It would have dampened the sting of losing the lottery. Oh, and I wonder what he would say about today’s supermarket tomatoes — firm, red, round and tasteless. Hmm, guess taste is recessive, Gregor?