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Re: No New Messages, Sports and Transposable Elements

  • Subject: Re: No New Messages, Sports and Transposable Elements
  • From: andrewl <andrewl@hostahaven.com>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 21:27:26 -0500

Hi Jim,
RE:>> Perhaps you may have forgotten...

I obviously did not recall that you posted this one specifically.  Even so, I don't know that it hurts to have it referenced again as new members may have joined since your last posting.  From the article that you and I are both citing (because it DOES offer an excellent review of the literature), I find this statement:

"The vast majority of variegated-leaf chimeras have arisen by spontaneous nuclear or plastid mutation".

From some of the literature that I am reading, written from a molecular geneticists point of view, some researchers seem to believe that many (Hosta?) sports (variegations due to chimeras or mutations) could be due to transposable elements.   I intend to do some work on this in the near future, preferably utilizing a PCR test.  Unfortunately, I need to understand microsatellites, linkage mapping, and the whole DNA sequencing process better; I'm a ways off from that.  Don't even know how to prepare the samples for the PCR test but that is a technical hurdle that can be overcome (we do have a blender, so maybe I can up a batch right here in the kitchen sink! <g>) We are fortunate here in Iowa to have a few folks that do know how to do this.  If we can find a single Starlink gene in about four bushels of corn, there ought to be a way to isolate the genes for, e.g. the sport of H. Blue Angel, H. White Angel.  

However, I am still trying to figure out how to intelligently phrase some of the questions that remain to be asked!  I think there are adequate means to examine many of the hypotheses.  (see http://www.dna.iastate.edu/mainpage.html)  It would be good to isolate some mappable genes with linkage to coloration.  If there are multiple duplications of gene sequences, and these correlate to genes known to be transposable in other eukaryotic plants, could clearer explanations be far behind?  Eventually, I may need to know how to work that BLASTP or FASTA software, which could lead to a need to do some clustering of Linux servers, and on ad infinitum...

As for Ben's mitotic recombination, I'm more than a little curious about this process.  I see that there has been a lot more research with E. Coli and yeast, yet when the authors (Pogany and Lineberger) refer to "spontaneous mutation, induced mutation, sorting-out from variegated seedlings", are some of these events possibly mitotic recombination?   We talk about this phenomena a lot, but just what in the bejebbers IS "mitotic recombination"?   I found an animated overview of the process here--  http://www.people.virginia.edu/~rjh9u/lohanim.html  which helps a little.  Is this a recombination of alleles that results from the process of mitosis only?  Sounds right, but if you say, "no duh" I'm going to feel pretty stupid.  Heterozygosity becomes homozygosity, or homozygosity becomes heterozygosity?

While mitotic recombination may occur but as a rare event, transposable elements may lead to variegation in plants with much greater frequency.  If it is likely that some mitotic recombination is occurring in other plants, at what frequency might this be occuring in Hosta?  Certainly chimeric changes are common that are NOT any kind of more permanent rearrangement of the DNA molecules yet some chimeras may appear to be simple chimeric changes when they are in fact a result of mutations or mitotic recombinations.   (See http://www.agron.missouri.edu/mnl/72/47peterson.html , specifically the last paragraph which refers to a 2 out of 400 frequency in Maize).

Keep in mind that I certainly don't KNOW what I'm talking about.  That should/could change over time, and I sure hope so as I continue to have interest in this area.  In the interim, I'm glad to see that the discussions continue as we dig for answers.   I expect to have some meetings soon with people who understand much more about these things from a molecular point of view but if you or anyone else feels they have a handle on this, please jump in and help explain some of these phenomena so we can gain ground more quickly.

Jim, I know you like to keep things stirred up so that we can learn more about our beloved genus, to learn more about what makes them tick, and it would be good to find some more geneticists that were willing to respond.  Hopefully we can find someone who might assist, since Ben is snubbing us.  <g>

I don't know about you, but I am a much kinder/gentler person after I've had a chance to spend some time in the Hosta patch so it's sure nice to see those crowns breaking dormancy...

Hugs and Kisses!

Andrew Lietzow
#1 Plantsman at http://hostahaven.com
1250 41st St
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516


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