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Re: Tetraploids & Flow Cytometry


That was a nice essay to encourage support for more science intended to
improve hostas. In your last paragraph you summarized  that we " need more
serious scientific research , not less". I am not aware of anyone who would
propose less scientific research. I believe what you meant to encourage was
more scientific research  of the molecular biology types which you were
describing rather than other types. Of course, each type must be able to
justify its relative priority in a world of scientific research competition.
I don't mean to be critical of your scientific preference except to point
out that answers to the question WHY have not yet  been given, to my

You and others have made strong claims that it is obvious that more work in
Flow Cytometry is needed to determine the ploidy characteristics of hostas
because characteristics are obviously better.( than diploid characteristics,
for example?)

It is not obvious to me. It perhaps is not obvious to others. Certainly it
was not obvious to Dr. Lois Girton who gave a talk on tetraploids at the
Winter Scientific Meeting in Chicago in 1993, I believe. She explained how
colchicine, for example, prevented cell walls from forming during mitosis,
resulting in 4n the number of chromosomes  in larger sized cells. I
remembered she pointed out that bigger did not necessarily  mean better. I
have been seeking written justification for the apparent keen interest in
developing tetraploids in hostas but I have not been able to find a
discussion on this subject. If the merits are obvious, I and others,  I am
sure, would welcome  comments from you or others who make such claims. I am
seeking a technical discussion to justify development of  tetraploid hostas
( not fruits, such a Dermen of USDA has done since the 1950's). Why
tetraploids rather than other work in genetics, for example? We don't yet
know all of the important types of inheritance involved in hostas using
conventional wisdom. Why go high tech if we lack conventional wisdom on
intermediate technology?

Thanks for a thoughtful response from anyone who wishes to comment.

Jim Hawes

andrewl wrote:

> 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
> equipment.
> 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,
> USA;
> * AGOWA GmbH, Berlin, Germany; Genoscope and CNRS, 91057 Evry Cedex,
> France;
> * 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
> does?
> 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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