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HYB: Rolling the dice

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

Betty wrote:
>  Although I managed the basic math classes to graduate college, I didn't
>  statistics.  I am math challenged.  I've read that the chances of
getting a
>  winner, a significantly improved iris in "normal" TB hybridizing (pink x
>  etc.) are about 1 in 300-1,000, depending on how "modern" the parents

And, I might add, the hybridizer's experience.  When I was starting out,
several experienced hybridizers told me that they expected one of every
50-100 arilbred seedlings to be worthy of introduction -- but I quickly
realized that only applied to those who'd been hybridizing for decades.  My
own early success rate didn't even come close.   Only after years of
learning from the masters like Gene Hunt, Tom Wilkes & John Holden, did I
reach the 1 in 50-100 level. 

>  How many times would I, theoretically, have to "roll the dice" to reach
>  breeding goal? 

Let's not get bogged down in advanced statistics.  In plain English, if the
overall success rate in carefully planned crosses is 1 in 1000 [a figure
I've heard before] then a hybridizer who raises 1000 seedlings has a 50/50
chance of attaining success -- which may be a seedling worthy of
introduction or a significant breeder needed in the program.  

>  How many miracles do I need here?  The percentages on this one
>  might put some things into perspective.  

You need only one miracle <G>.  The odds apply to the population as a
whole.   Success COULD arrive with your very first seedling.  Your might
make a cross that produces one seed and one spectacular seedling --
remember the stories of DOMINION and SNOW FLURRY?   Or, like the early-day
breeders of pinks, you could grow thousands without getting the one you
want -- because at the other end of the spectrum there's no number that
will GUARANTEE success.  

It's a gamble.  That's why I liked the "Roll of the Dice" analogy.

Sharon McAllister

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