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Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #488


>...my understanding is that transposable elements are specific pieces 
>of DNA that move around the genome.  They can take with them pieces 
>of surrounding DNA and they can get respliced into the DNA inside a
>normal gene.  Both of these events would easily be classified as 
>permanent mutation (a permanent change in the DNA).

If the transposable elements can take pieces of DNA with them when 
they move about then you might get a permanent mutation.  However, you 
should be able to detect this with classical Mendelian inheritance 
studies.  If you have a hosta sport that was a true mutation you 
should be able to cross it to the original plant and show a clear cut 
segeration pattern.

>I also remember (correct me if I am wrong) that the transposable 
>elements can move to prescribed spots on the DNA, and then leave 

This is what I am thinking is a possibility with hostas because you 
see the same sports showing up.  The question is, do all hostas 
contain transposable elements, and if not can they be inherited?  Are 
transposable elements anything like viruses?

The genetics text book I used in the 60's doesn't mention transposable 
elements and none on my professors in graduate school had much/any 
experience with transposable elements, so I have to admit that my 
personal experience with them is limited and I've been out of the 
university setting for 20 years now.  That is why I was hoping Ben 
would educate all of us since he a geneticist and why I am defering to 
him on this question.  I'm not sure why Ben is relucent to give an 

I'm still uncomfortable about equating transposable elements with 
mutations in hostas the way Ben uses the term.  The way hostas sport 
is not classical mutations.  I'm doing some studies along these lines, 
but it is going to be quite some time yet before I have enough data to 
figure out anything.  

>I was hoping to get a better explanation from one of our geneticists 
>or breeders who should be closer to this information.

This is something I am hoping Ben will provide a good explanation for 
as he should be more up to date on this topic then any of us.

Joe Halinar

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