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Request for technical opinion


Dear Dr. Sherry Kitto,

A group of several hosta enthusiasts are in the process of a technical
discussion via e-mail on causes of sports in hostas. Bruce Banyai, who
operates a hosta nursery near Wilminton, wrote an e-mail post of
participation in this discussion, in which he recalled his mother ,
Pauline Banyai, and himself discussing chimeral rearrangement ( tissue
transfer) with you perhaps some 15 years ago. Since you are a pioneer
and an authority in the field of chimeras from tissue culture, it
occured to me to write to you to ask your personal opinion on a
"sticking point" in our current discussion.

We have reviewed much of the work of Dr. Michael Marcotrigiano,
especially his HortScience article, "Variegation and Chimeras: Patterns
of Deceit" (1997) .Also, we are familiar with the literature review
article of Mary F. Pogany and R. Davis Lineberger of Texas A & M, "Plant
Chimeras in Tissue Culture: A Review". Both articles give a summary of
causal factors responsible for chimeras. But neither of them list or
discuss "mitotic recombination" ( somatic crossing-over of chromosomes)
as a possible cause for chimeras in hostas.. A certain Dr. Ben Zonneveld
of the Leiden University in Holland, a participant in our discussion,
has wrtten three articles in the American Hosta Journal since 1996 and
in a Boklet of Sports, in which he claims that mitotic recombination IS
one of the three causes of sports in hostas (along with tissue transfer
and nuclear mutations). He did not include chloroplast mutants and
sorting-out processes, recognized by Marcotrigiano as  primary causes..
Others in the group questioned  Zonneveld's opinions on mitotic
recombination because they were not substantiated with discussions of
proof or even references of the work of others.

Would you, as a nuetral expert in this subject, be so kind as to give
your professional opinion in this matter? We I realize this question is
not of monumental significance but it has become important because of
strong personal opinions which have arisen on both sides of the issue.
It also relates to the true facts of the causes which we would not wish
to propagate if facts were incorrect.  Perhaps you, as an outside
arbitrator without bias, can help us in resolving the relative
importance of mitotic recombination as a responsible process in the
origin of chimeras in hosta meristems in vitro.

Thank you for any enlightenment possible. A simple, non-binding,
personal opinion would be very much appreciated. I am sure your
assistance would also make Bruce Banyai proud of his State and the
University of Delaware in participating in this discussion.

James  Hawes (one of the senior citizens in the discussion group)
<hawesj@atlantic.net>

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