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Re: Tetraploids & Flow Cytometry

zonneveld wrote:
RE>>Has anybody of the AHS members ever counted chromosomes in
Hosta ? Or used other methods to determine ployploidy like flow
cytometry ? If not, all talk about tetraploids in hosta are just wild
guesses!  On the other hand if you have the real ones not  a ploidy
chimera ( see my article) that is is easy to see what are the
advantages of a tetraploid hosta.
To those Hosta-open members with an avid interest in the science of the
genus Hosta;

If any one is doing this type of work stateside (which Ben refers to
above), or would like to, please send me an email message.  You don't
need to be doing it personally--you could simply know of someone working
in this field.  I am trying to find a resource here, as well as to
determine whether there is anyone else that is working in the same field
of research as Ben.  I want to develop a dialogue with other researchers
who are using Flow Cytometry equipment, or microspectrophotometry

I am asking this question because I would like to know if there is
ANY Flow Cytometry or Fuelgen microspectrophotometry work going on with
the genus Hosta stateside, possibly to contract for work on a fee
basis.  I have asked before and I apologize in advance for the
redundancy--some may have missed my previous post.  Is such research
restricted primarily to agri-industry/food crops here in the U.S.?  I
can't just pick up the latest issue of Nature to find the major research
centers around the world that are working on  HOSTA projects and, to
date, I have found no other resource with this information.

I know there is a lot of work going on with genome and proteome work
with rice, maize, corn and soybeans (some of the Soybean work is being
done right here at ISU, in Ames, Iowa) but there should be some people
close to other Genome Research centers around the globe:
* TIGR, The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, MD, USA;
* Kazusa DNA Research Institute, Kisarazu, Chiba 292, Japan;
* Plant Science Institute, Dept of Biology, U of Pennsylvania, Phil. PA,
* AGOWA GmbH, Berlin, Germany; Genoscope and CNRS, 91057 Evry Cedex,
* Washington U Genome Sequencing Center, St. Louis School of Medicine,
St. Louis, MO, USA;
* Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences, Max-Planck-Institut
f. Biochemie, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152, Germany.

Maybe someone has a personal interest, or knows of a researcher that

So far, it looks like Ben may be the only researcher in the world
conducting this level of study on Hosta.  I do tend to agree with Ben
that there are very obvious reasons why creating a tetraploid version of
an otherwise beautiful, yet diploid Hosta, is a worthy undertaking.
Certainly, Rick Grazzini, Tony Avent (Hirao, and others?) have
contributed to this work and understand the merits.  And when someone
wants to know whether a plant is a diploid, triploid, polyploid, or
tetraploid, it would be good to have a facility available that would
perform this test--kind of like the importance of having Dr. Ben
Lockhardt and associates available for specimen examination regarding
Hosta virii.

This issue is analogous to Tissue Culture or BAP--either,  1) you see
the importance of this work, or, 2) you don't, or, 3) your opinion is
withheld because your mind is still pondering.   For another example,
the question was asked recently whether TC stock is inferior to, better
than, or comparable to OS, showing that there is a lot of education that
needs to go on in our field so that we can know the difference between
good marketing and good science.   This is not to downplay the
importance of good marketing, yet it is important to know what is
marketing strategy and what are scientifically supported statements of
fact.   While the "similar to" and "identical" debate rages on, we
should not allow this to stall the efforts toward serious science while
the debaters "duke it out" in the trade rags and sales catalogs.  Until
we can clone a plant genetically, all plants are at best "similar to"
and not identical, so this becomes a marketing question and not a
scientific one.

No big problem if you don't agree, but certainly this does not detract
from the importance of the DNA analysis and ploidy manipulation work.  I
wish there was more money available to assist non-food crop
researchers.  We'd be a lot further down the road at isolating the
causes of Hosta Virus X, or an ability to alter the genome structure of
Hosta to improve resistance against same.  Possibly innoculations could
be developed to help our plants resist pests or diseases.  This is
certainly not said to detract from the importance of ongoing,
traditional hybridizing efforts--the application of genetic science
through more traditional, sexual reproductive methods leads to more "sex
in the garden" which we all know can be fun (strictly between the
plants, of course). However, it does seem counterproductive to discredit
the importance of advanced studies.   Such is immensely beneficial and I
hope that someday we, through our collective Hosta societies, will be
able to assist in the funding of such research.

While it is plausible to believe that we don't need Ben's focus on Hosta
(as some have asserted here), it is important to understand that these
are non-trival studies and you can't just go out and "buy a lab" to make
this happen overnight.  You need trained researchers WITH AN INTEREST,
and with a big budget in order to conduct such work.  While I can
appreciate that some may see Ben's statements as, "I am mad, so I am
going to take my ball and go home", he may have legitimate concerns of
international bias.  I don't believe we need to continue to poke the pig
to see if he (and other international members who are not as vocal) will
get mad.  Instead, we need to continue to examine why they could feel
slighted and take measures to counteract perceived biases.   I proposed
a 10-25% REDUCTION in international dues for three years to correct this
belief, but to the best of my knowledge, received no replies.  There are
other options yet I suggest we make it obvious that the AHS is open to
becoming internationally focused, to prevent any perceived need for an
International Hosta Society.    Why give away this privilege of service
to some other group?

Now that Dr. Grewal has discovered that Zerotol is nearly 100% as
effective against nematodes as Oxamyl (Vydate-tm), and we can gain some
momentum with these types of pests (even if Nemacur disappears from
available use), perhaps we can start to set aside some money for protein
sequencing or genome mapping research.  Certainly, for DNA measurements
for which Ben (and others) have already developed the technical protocol
essential for accurate analysis, we should begin to see the merit.  He
may be a little rough around the edges in communications (for Ben
doesn't seem to mind making outlandish statements while hoping to spur
on legitimate, scientific debate) but for the good of the work, I
believe we need to either find researchers who can do the work
stateside, or begin to support his work directly.

Perhaps it's time that we work harder to accept each other, including
our weaknesses, while we work globally for the good of the cause.
Nematodes and virii will do a lot to harm the enjoyment of a nice Hosta
garden and the public's acceptance of Hosta as an easy to grow
perennial.  We must find ways to counteract these maladies and we need
more serious scientific research, not less.

Andrew Lietzow, MBA
#1 Plantsman at http://hostahaven.com
And an advocate for serious scientific discussion,
which can take place at http://dev.hostahaven.com/discus

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