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Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #483


>I appreciate your joining us.  We need some geneticists among us

Actually, I'm a plant breeder by training with undergraduate degrees 
in botany.  Actually, Ben knows a lot more about genetics then I do, 
but it's difficult to get a straight answer from him.

>I think, however, that we could all use a simple explanation of 
>transposable elements with an example such as seed color in corn.

I've been out of a university setting for over 20 years now.  This is 
a question that Ben should be able to easily provide an answer to.

>I have figured that in our lab we see a new variegation in something 
>less than 10,000 individuals, which is clearly not a simple mutation 

Are you talking about a non-variegated hosta sporting to a variegated 
form, or one variegated form sporting to a diferent form?  I haven't 
said too much about some work I am doing, but I am working on a long 
term project to personally get as many different sports from 
particular hostas as I can generate and then watch them and see how 
they sport.  What I am trying to look for is a pattern.  It is 
possible to get very high rates of sporting in some hostas while other 
hostas seem to be very stable.

Right now I am working with Francee and Gold Standard as my two main 
test plants.  I only just got Patriot this spring, so what I will do 
next year is try to generate some sports from Patriot and see what I 
get compared to Francee.  I have several interesting Francee sports, 
some of which are similar to Patriot.  Also have some interesting 
sports of Gold Standard to work with including two streaked plants 
that will likely give a number of different forms next year.  Also 
several interesting Golden Tiara sports and some really interesting 
Whirlwind sports if I can isolate them.

>I think we need to get terminology straight before any arguments 

I don't believe in arguments.  Differences of opinion, yes.  But one 
nice thing about science, there always is an answer.  Sometimes you 
are right and sometimes you are wrong, you learn and then move on to 
the next question you don't know the answer to.  

>Is the movement of an element a mutation or is there a better way to 
>describe this?

A transposable element is called "transposable" because it can move 
from chromosome to chromosome.  It is not a mutation in the 
traditional sense of mutations.   

>What is a position effect?

This is a question that Ben can best answer.  Basically, the position 
of a gene has an effect on genes next to it.  If you change the 
location of a gene through inversions or translocations you can end up 
altering the phenotype from what you would expect.  Ben should be able 
to give us some good examples since he claims to keep up with what is 
happening in genetics because he teachs genetics.

Joe Halinar

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