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Re: experience


Ben:

>I am quite willing to discuss anything with you on the subject of 
>genetics.

Good.  I enjoy a good intellectual discussion (especially when I know 
I am right).

>I have nearly 35 year research and teaching experience (what is 
>yours?) in the formal and molecular genetics of fungi, yeast, 
>Drosophila and now three years with the genetics of Hosta.

Now, that is the reason why I am having so much trouble understanding 
your general rule of thumb for hosta sports.  I figured you were 
probably a fruit fly geneticist.  I see you have NO background in 
botany.  My background is a BS in forestry and botany, a MS in botany 
and a Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics.  I've had my own nursery 
business for 20 years and have been breeding lilies and daylilies for 
20 years and now am getting into hosta hybridizing.  

>However it seems you are not able/willing to decide on a simple yes 
>or no question i.e. wether the first true leaf in Hosta is a 
>cotyledon or not (to be found in any good book on plant biology)

You may be right and you may be wrong.  However, you haven't given any 
proof that you are correct.  Please quote the references that support 
your view.  I looked in one of the great plant anatomy books of the 
20th century and didn't find anything to support your view.  Besides, 
you have't answered my queston about the first leaf of alliums - are 
they cotyledon or a true leaf.  Of course, the answer to this question 
doesn't support your point of view, so maybe you don't want to answer. 
Some lilies germinate and the whole embryo stays underground and is 
transformed into a bulbil, so it is possible that hosta cotyledons 
stay below ground and the first leaf is a true leaf, but I want to see 
proof of it.  You seem to have access to research facilities, so how 
about germinating some hosta seeds, making paraffin preparations, 
section them and take micro-photographes and prove your point.  

>Therefore it seems to me that any other subject with less clear yes 
or no answers is too far fetched for the moment.

For you maybe!

Ben, I respect your intellect and you probably do know a lot about 
fruit fly, fungus and bacteria genetics.  However, that knowledge 
doesn't necessary directly apply to higher plants.  Your basic rule of 
thumb for sports in hostas doesn't have much value because two of the 
causes you mention, mutation and mitotic crossing over occure at too 
low a rate to account for the high rate of sports in hosta.  For one 
example, last year I had 1 plant of Whirlwind.  This year I have 8 
plants and 5 are sports, and these are not chimera rearrangements.  
I've propagated over a half million Stella De Oro daylilies in the 
last 15 years and have found only two variegated plants; both were 
mericlinal chimeras that were eventually lost.  I've propagated maybe 
50,000 other daylilies and grown thousands of seedlings and in 15 
years I've only found a handfull of variegated plants from seedlings, 
none of which were stable periclinal chimeras.  

The mutation rate is just too low to account for many sports in hosta. 
Not that some hostas aren't mutations, but it's a lot less then what 
you would suggest.  

Yes, some organisms do have mitotic crossing over, but even in those 
organism where it does occure it is VERY RARE.  Mitotic crossing over 
is very rare in higher plants.  This isn't to say that hostas couldn't 
have some genetic control over mitotic crossing over.  If they do, you 
should be able to prove it without too much difficulty.  If mitotic 
crossing over were to occure in yellow hostas it would occure in any 
number of dividing cells and you would more likely end up with 
sectoral chimeras rather than periclinal chimeras and you should see 
yellow hostas with all sorts of odd green patches.  You make very 
general and unsupported statements when you say that a certain type of 
sport is due to mitotic crossing over when mitotic crossing over in 
higher plants is an extreamely rare event.  If mitotic crossing over 
does occure in hostas PROVE it - you will become VERY famous!

Joe Halinar


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