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Mendel as a "Hired Gun" for the local economy. 
Many cities in America compete with each other to lure high-tech industries to stimulate the local economy. Especially popular are the biotech companies that develop genetically engineered animals, plants, and medicines. Would you believe that a similar circumstance helped create the whole science of genetics over 135 years ago?

Image of Mendel's GardenMany people think that Mendel stumbled on basic genetic principles by puttering around in his garden. That is the way the story is usually told. But Gregor was specifically recruited to the monastery because he was scientifically trained and because the people of the countryside had a long tradition in selective breeding of livestock and plants. Of special interest to the farmers and the city fathers was the breeding programs for sheep, because wool had to be imported from Spain. The Brno civic leaders had founded several scientific societies for the purposes of improving the town's prestige and economy. So, in some ways, Gregor was a "hired gun," who was expected to do something for the local economy. Although Gregor worked in a monastery, today we would call his work enviornment an incubator focused on promoting scientific progress in agricultural biotechnology.

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