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Re: Genetic drift

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Genetic drift
  • From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 09:56:19 -0600 (MDT)

This phenomenon is known from tissue-cultured plants in a number of genera,
but requires a number of "generations" of tissue-culturing.  By that I mean
that one member of the clone is selected to be the "parent" of many more
produced by culturing.  That makes one generation.  So long as the same
original "parent" continues to be used, the new plants should be identical
to it (statistically, a few will show some variation, but the proportion
will be very small, like one out of 10,000).  The problem comes when one of
the cultured plants is selected to be the "parent" of a second generation,
and so one, through numerous generations.  For reasons not clearly
understood (at least not by me), each passage through culture increases the
number of plants that are not true to type, but this takes many more
generations than would ever be done by a commercial propagator.

Perhaps some one with an interest in orchids, where this has been going on
longer than in any other plant group, could help.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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