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Re: Transfering genes (colchicine sources)

  • Subject: Re: Transfering genes (colchicine sources)
  • From: academyhouse@toad.net
  • Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 21:52:15 -0500

>   Thanks for the help !! What is the best stage to use the colchicine on iris 
> ? what precautions do I need to use ??

There is no clear concise answer to your questions. McEwen describes two
techniques that can be used with Siberian and Japanese irises. It was
published in 1976 in the AIS Bulletin (Vol 223, p20-23). The same
information is contained in his books, The Japanese Iris and The
Siberian Iris. His sprouted seedling method results in a very high death
rate and is more successful with Siberians than Japanese. The clonal
method is cumbersome at best and I don't know anyone who is using it.  

More recently (1997), Sam Norris reports on a modified method used with
Louisiana irises (Vol 306, p57-?). He reports a much higher success
rate. In a phone conversation, Mr. Norris told me he "puts colchicine on
anything that stands still". If I ever meet him in person, I will
certainly keep moving. <grin>

I know several people who are using a "modified" Norris method, with
Japanese irises, but there have been few successes.

There are some web sites that discuss tetraploidy. This site has some
interesting reading and may give you some ideas:


From personal experience, I can tell you that tetraploid conversion is
not quite as easy as the literature would lead you to believe,
especially for monocots. The plant is engineered in such a way as to
protect the integrity of its genetic material in the diploid state. So,
be prepared for some failures along the way. 

As for handling colchicine, just use common sense. It is quite toxic if
ingested, even in minute quantities. As little as 10 mg can result in
death. Avoid skin exposure. NEVER put it in a container that could be
used for food.

I think that what you are trying to do is most important. 

Good luck.

R. Dennis Hager
on Delmarva


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