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RE: AIS: HYB: Geo. Waters' Bulletin Article

  • Subject: RE: [iris] AIS: HYB: Geo. Waters' Bulletin Article
  • From: "Steve Szabo" steve@familyszabo.com
  • Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 00:48:52 -0400
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • List-archive: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris/> (Web Archive)
  • Thread-index: AcbKBNQny5ejOaBCQS2joTlIH1TfIAAVhMZg
  • Thread-topic: [iris] AIS: HYB: Geo. Waters' Bulletin Article

Sine I am not a member of the AIS, I do not receive the bulletin, and
have not read the article in question. However, based on what Anner says
in her post, I can make some comments. 

I am not real familiar with plants either, but I do know fish and my
other half knows dogs. With the dogs, there have been certain problems
associated with certain breeds over time. In the length of time she has
been involved with dogs, she has seen these identified problems become
more prevalent, and more breeds suffering from problems particular to
the breed. 

With the fish, the fancier the variety, the more delicate it seems to
be. For example, the fancy guppies you see in the fish store have a much
more limited temperature range than do those that are commonly sold as
feeder fish. The same holds true with goldfish--the fancier the fish,
the less tolerance it has for changes in water parameters. Also, there
has been a reduction in the size of most species and varieties that are
heavily bred and readily available.

As to these problems being inevitable, they could probably be reversed,
and are not inevitable, if proper breeding procedures are followed.
However they are not. Inbreeding is quite common when trying to bring
certain traits to the forefront, and this has the propensity to bring
along the "good" genes as well as the "bad" genes in ever concentrating
amounts. The way to avoid this is by out crossing, where fish that are
not related, but may carry the same desired trait are bred. This does
have a tendency to dilute the genes from the desired result, and giving
one a smaller group to work with, and therefore more time to develop the
trait, but it also scatters the "bad" genes as well, making it less
likely the undesired traits will show.

From my discussions with the late Neil M. plant genes seem to work a bit
differently than animal genes, but I would suspect that the same
concentrating of "good" and "bad" genes occurs, eventually displaying
themselves as traits where a particular variety of iris will do well in
a part of the country, but not in another. It may also make them more
susceptible to parasites and diseases.

Again, probably not inevitable, but it will and does happen.

Just my two cents.


\\Steve// 
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-iris@hort.net [mailto:owner-iris@hort.net] On Behalf Of
ChatOWhitehall@aol.com
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 2:09 PM
To: iris@hort.net
Cc: bfilardi@comcast.net
Subject: [iris] AIS: HYB: Geo. Waters' Bulletin Article

In a message dated 8/26/2006 7:57:29 AM Eastern Standard Time,  
lmann@lock-net.com writes:

<<<<Several articles caught my interest this time, but was  most amazed
by 
the George Waters "Food For Thought" article.


Yes. I expect some won't find the article great fun.  

I do think it is essential that persons feel free to open discussions
on 
these sorts of problems,  especially those they consider "inevitable,"
but 
susceptible to amelioration. In some quarters there is, I think, a
tendency to 
consider anyone who raises an awkward  issue not quite an Iris team
player. Then 
mutterings about  negativity or whatnot start, typically, I have
observed, 
coming  from some source whose own foibles would exasperate a wooden
Indian. 
Nobody signed a loyalty oath or a Pollyanna pledge when they  joined
AIS, and we 
can't learn anything from each other if we won't  speak out.
 
I think it well the Editor listened to George Waters, and  published
this 
distinguished senior irisarian's concerns. I am not sure  they would
have seemed 
as authoritative, and of such  poignancy, coming from another source. I
am  
distraught that Mr. Waters is having such  disappointments, although I
am not 
confident his analysis of the  situation has yielded unassailable
conclusions. 
 
Our Editor must be saluted for recognizing the significance of this
article. 
Bruce Filardi has brought a richer variety to  the Bulletin, and I am 
enjoying it. From time to time we have  heard a lot about making room in
the Bulletin 
for more interesting  articles, but, as Clarence Mahan mentioned in this

forum back in  1996, the real problem has not been finding room in the
Bulletin, 
it  has been finding those good articles in the first place. I have
never  
forgotten that. 
 
What captured my attention in Mr. Waters' piece was his observation:  "I
have 
not studied plant breeding, but what I have read on the subject
suggests 
that selection over many generations for decorative features  inevitably
lessens 
plants' immunity to diseases and pests." He  opines that the conditions
in the 
hybridizers' gardens may "mask"  problems which manifest later in the
care of 
"ordinary gardeners."  There is some talk of test gardens of the past,
and so 
forth. 
 
I wonder. I wonder a lot about that strong word, "inevitably." I  wonder
if 
Mr. Waters' observation is actually sound. I am  ignorant, but I do
believe the 
situation must be very complicated,  indeed. Aside from anything else,
the 
pests and diseases are also changing,  adapting over many generations,
or so I'd 
expect. No entity in  nature, no phenomenon, no condition, exists in  
isolation. I also wonder who those ordinary gardeners are, and what
their  
expectations and skills are presumed to be.
 
I'll tell you, there is some question in my mind as to whether we
should 
really expect the preponderance of hybrid irises to  grow well
everywhere, even 
with the very best of culture.  Were it not for a handful of bearded
historics, 
not all of which are diploids,  which, to their everlasting glory, do
very 
nearly that, albeit  not, in my experience, without leaf spot, I don't
know that 
 we'd even think such a thing possible. We certainly  would not assert
such 
is the case with any other group  of intensively hybridized ornamental 
perennial garden plants. Nor,  I observe, is it invariably true of many
of the 
non-hybridized ornamental plants, forms of species  of many genera,
available for 
our horticultural consideration.  

Which is not to say I don't think Waters' has raised a  useful point:
When it 
comes to pest and disease resistance,  more is better, all around, on
all 
scores, and always will be so.
 
 
Cordially,
 
Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA USDA Zone 7  

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