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OS Mythology

Dear Readers,

There have been several posts recently discussing the merits of OS over
TC. Joanne mentioned that there was a "thread" of discussion on this
subject but that it was somewhat controversial and inconclusive, if I
remember her characterization correctly. I would characterize it
somewhat differently.  This post represents an attempt to explain some
facts about tc in order to expell the myth that OS plant material "is
the real thing" and that somehow tc derived plants are not the same
plant material.  

I refer you to the rather comprehensive discussion on this subject which
was copied and adapted with my permission by the Upper NY Hosta Society
for publication  in one of its recent newsletters. I made the case that
plantlets derived from tc methods of propagation are identidal
genetically and phenotypically to the explants (OS parent material) from
which they originated, as long as sports do not occur in the culture.
Since sports occur in only about one in 10,000 plants of the population
of plants propagated, no matter which methods of propagation are used,
then it is logical to assume that TC is identical to the OS parent
material. If it is not (if aberrants are found), then a  1 in 10,000
sport occurred. This exception to the rule must be taken into
consideration to arrive at the truth rather than incorreect conclusons .
If sports do occur, then the TIME when they occur is very important in
explaining why numbers of aberrants within the tc population which
contains some sports may vary. If sports occur early in the tc cycle,
then if propagules are un-rogued, there may be a higher percent of
aberrants than if the sport occurred late in the tc sequence. The type
of hosta being propagated also determines whether tc produced plants are
identical to OS explant material. Green and yellow cultivars will most
likely always be identical, but even with these, some sports may occur..
Only when unstable streaked or other types of unstable variegated hostas
are propagated, will the number of aberrant type plantlets be high,
leading to the still incorrect conclusion from the misunderstood
evidence  that the OS Myth may have some truth. 

Jim Hawes

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