Hosta Sports (and VBG)?
Hi Kevin and Hosta-open Hostaphiles,
RE:>>"Linkage Mapping" -- yep, use it every time I make a cross!
<VBG>! Just like dowsing for water!
(Warning: Lengthy and in-depth Hosta genetics manuscript.
Delete if not interested in Hosta genetics).
I'm finding both a wealth of excellent information and some confusing
misinformation from some of our Hosta sports discussions. It is kind
of surprising. I had thought the science of Hostas would by now have
progressed considerably on the continuum toward a deeper understanding
of post-transcriptional control of gene expression in the genus.
However, it seems we have been doing a little too much "dowsing" and not
enough "linkage mapping". Maybe we're so wrapped up in expressing
our egos that we've neglected to learn how Hostas are expressing their
genes? There is SOME excellent work, yet is it enough? I think
Sure, everyone has an ego and we all like to get it stroked, yet if
we are to advance the scientific investigation, some of this bickering
and bantering may not be conducive toward reaching that goal.
I've posted multiple times to the hosta-open seeking leads to researchers
who might be working on molecular biological analysis of Hosta. Sometimes
we do have some very good discussions about matters of a more serious nature,
yet my request for leads has produced only a few; Dr. Ben Zonneveld, Dr.
Grazzini (who appears content to pursue other areas of interest at the
moment), Dr. Mactrigiano (sp?), and Dr. Kevin Vaughn. This is a start.
But many of these are not willing to post on the hosta-open. Apparently,
our discussions quickly degenerate into bantering or name calling, so no
wonder we can't recruit more legitimate investigators. This does
little in our quest for facts. Our human tendency is to quickly react
when attacked, or at a minimum, become emotionally defensive, for which
we certainly can be forgiven, yet how can we make quick progress when we
let our emotions consume us? Some of us would like to get beyond
Recently, the discussion got to the point that I just backed out and
submitted a request to be signed off the hosta-open. I goofed and
did it wrong, so I have still been receiving messages. I have not
posted for some time, until today. From reviewing the posts and the
archives, even the Ph.D.'s are disagreeing about which genetic nomenclature
to use. I was told a while back to read a book on genetics from the
'60's or '70's, which I kind of did (my book is circa 1998) but I also
made a trip to a molecular biology lab in Ames. Within a couple of
weeks I expect to be working with a lab to perform my first test run on
ploidy analysis in Hosta (with the aid of people who actually KNOW what
they are doing), starting with 10-20 samples. I realized that with
Ben Z. and Joe H. can't even agree on whether it is Yy or yy, or which
is the wild type and which is the indicator for the allele that has been
expressed (with both gentlemen being considerably more knowledgeable than
I), my chances of contributing to the discussion or advancing the investigation
were somewhere between slim and none. I needed to divert my attention
toward gaining empirical evidence and this I am committed to doing.
Because I have enjoyed this topic so much, I'm going to open a secure
discussion regarding Hosta genetics at http://dev.hostahaven.com/discus.
And later, after the DNS servers around the world have registered the domain
names, http://hostagenetics.com will become valid and I expect I'll move
the discussion there. The topic will obviously be "Hosta Genetics"
and I will send a message from that forum inviting people to join if they
are interested. If you would like to be invited, please send me a
note privately so that I won't miss anyone who is seriously interested.
Hecklers need not apply and you know who you are.
This is not to detract from the hosta-open, which is THE most excellent
forum on the net for the OPEN discussion of Hosta. Our effort with
the Hosta Genetics forum and hostagenetics.com will be more to create a
resource for serious discussion on genetics.
Why do I want to do this? It seems to me, from what little investigation
I have done, that we are behind in mapping the genome and proteome of Hosta.
Even the basic understanding of isolating genes, marking them, and using
PCR tests to ascertain the presence of specific mappable genes seems to
not be a technique utilized by anyone within the Hosta community.
I would LOVE to be corrected on this, and pointed to a Hosta scholar who
has been actively researching in this arena. We know a lot about
hormones, quite a bit about sports, and a lot about creating new cultivars
through hybridization, but when the primary work that we site regarding
Hosta research is from the work of Dr. Kevin Vaughn from 20 years ago,
or from Dr. Zonneveld's work of more recent years (but of which many respected
investigators and researchers seem to have some trouble accepting), there
does seems to be a need to advance the discussion in a more unified manner.
We've got some catching up to do.
The Hosta Wheel committee is of course to be commended, as are many
others and for those of us who are interested we KNOW how valuable that
work has been. Thanks to Dan Nelson, Preston Littleton, Bill Nash,
Jim Hawes, and the folks who support the HostaSports.com web site.
It is a major reference point for those who are interested in the genus
at a much deeper level.
Recently, Joe Halinar seemed to have some concern regarding the accuracy
of Flow Cytometry for analyzing the DNA content of Hosta. Or maybe
his comments were more about the inferences drawn by Ben. While
we can offer criticism of Dr. Zonneveld's work, the only legitimate way
to lend support to, or to challenge, his results and conclusions, is to
replicate some of his experiments. This will yield empirical evidence
which may ultimately be shared in a manner as a Jim Hawes or an Ed Elslager
would do in an AHS-HJ article, or Ben in a more technical journal.
It's not enough to just say, "Oh, I don't accept his work because I think
he's sloppy", or, "I don't like his broken English and so he must be sloppy
in his research", or "He has a different moral ethic than that to which
I subscribe, so I will discount his work". No, the only way to legitimately
challenge or support the work of another is by replication which provides
empirical evidence upon which you can hang your hat.
Other than my one posting of a few months ago, there has been no indication
that anyone will be attempting to replicate Ben's experiments in DNA analysis
(the ploidy chimera article) to either add support to or challenge his
conclusions. While there is ample room to challenge some of his other
hybridizing statements which may be but conjectures, to challenge his results
and conclusions on the ploidy chimera issue requires replication of the
work. I will soon be providing some samples for a test through
flow cytometric analysis, and if anyone else wants to have the ploidy on
a particular cultivar checked, please get in touch. I will be seeking
samples within a couple of weeks, and over the course of the summer, will
do a couple of other batches as the need and warrants and time allows.
I hope we'll run around 100 samples but these things cost money.
IF you want some samples tested, there will be a nominal fee charged
and I have not determined that fee as of yet. Ben will do these for
free however, since his University owns the machine. I just wanted
to find a resource stateside.
As part of this effort, I would like to learn from our Hosta scholars
some of the plants that we know with certainty are diploids, triploids
and tetraploids (or aneuploids). I presume this conclusion
would be drawn from flow cytometric analysis or through microscopic examination.
I also assume that many capable hybridizers, such as Kevin Walek and many
others, know some of these answers. However, if someone could point
me to published works that are readily available, this would be most helpful.
Perhaps a specific article in the AHS-HJ? As Ben has pointed out,
some plants, such as Hirao Tetra, have been presumed tets for many years
but when tested, proved not to have been converted. I cannot offer
THESE kinds of questionable plants as standards. I need a 2C (sieboldiana?)
a 3C (clausa?) and a 4C (vertricosa?) plant that has been tested by multiple
researchers that will serve as a standard. Maybe Ben wants to comment
on how he would choose such a plant.
As many of us know, the only necessary criterion for scientific research
to be considered valid is the application of the scientific method of study
to the effort, and acceptance of the results and conclusions by a group
of one's peers. I don't believe credentials are necessary (though
having such quickly establishes a level of credibility that is not otherwise
as readily apparent); only a rigorous application of the scientific method
of analysis is pertinent. I don't know if the vast majority
of sports are due to transposable elements but this argument has received
little review in the current conversations (on the hosta-open) and yet
may be a very plausible explanation. Perhaps this has not been advanced
because Ben's assertion of mitotic recombination has been widely accepted,
or he has drawn so much flak from peers that he's now needing to take cover,
yet has successfully diverted our attention so that we might be vexed and
not seek an agruably more defensible explanation. Much focus has
shifted toward refuting his "Rules of Thumb", which may be a valid exercise,
but if this effort is at the expense of further research that could accurately
investigate the question, this could be a mistake.
Transposable elements, that could prove to be linked through genetic
mapping, seem to be a highly plausible explanation (Galbraith, et. al.),
but from what investigation I have done, there is little, if any, research
on Hosta that address this question. I believe that berating each
other publicly slows down the effort. Could a separate discussion
aid in this process? I don't know but I intend to find out.
For Jim Hawes, I would publicly praise your very thorough reports and
summaries of these Hosta Sports discussions. I hope that when I die
I will have been able to count you among my Hosta friends even though we
may never meet. However, I must offer that to wage this war with
Ben publicly, rather than in court or privately (regarding the plagiarism
charge) does little to advance the cause. There are two perspectives
on this matter--the legal and the ethical. Since you two fellas are
not able to resolve this between yourselves, whenever we attempt to discuss
these matters, all parties are involuntarily drawn into the feud.
While I respect each for his contribution to Hosta science, is it too much
to request that you resolve this matter privately rather than through the
public airwaves? It will NEVER be resolved by us because we are not
a jury and thus are rendered incapable of reaching an unbiased verdict
on this matter.
Toward the goal of pure science, I will be asking those who join the
Hosta Genetics Discussion Forum to try hard to eliminate egos and emotions.
I know that is a high calling, but if we are to make progress quickly I
believe this is an appropriate request. If I have to take on the
role of Carolyn Schaffner to keep us from attacking each other, then so
be it. I may edit out comments which lend little to the discussion
other than to advance the cause of inflammatory rhetoric. Of course,
no one may ever post and then my job will become rather simple, won't it.
While I am but a newbie to this arena, I realized several months ago
that Ben Z. offers something of merit to the Hosta community because of
his molecular biological research. Through flow cytometry,
he and an associate have published an article listing various ploidy levels
in 84 different Hosta cultivars. While I may tend to agree with Joe
Halinar that some of the leaps in logic that Ben takes need to be scrutinized,
just as we would scrutinize the work of any researcher, it seems more productive
to attempt replication than to simply attack the man because he using poor
English grammar or we don't agree with his syntax. I have had learned
people in this field review his study who found no glaring faults with
that work. If we question the validity of flow cytometry, however,
then we do have some interesting discussions before us.
I want to commend all of the participants in this Hosta Sports discussion
and you know who you are. I would also offer a "caveat emptor" to
any would seek participation in a Hosta genetics discussion with the soul
purpose of berating a fellow member or even worse, the discussion moderator.
If NONE wish to be part of the discussion because I am being a bully, then
so be it, but I am not inclined to coddle those whose sole agenda appears
to be salacity, moral decadence, slander, libelous innuendoes, or waste
our time by being flip.
Let me state that I have no intention of trying to control the direction
on any discussion on Sports or Hosta genetics. I know very little
on this subject. It would be ludicrous and impossible for me
to attempt to control its direction. I can, however, take some time
to freely invite people who have an interest in Hosta genetics to submit
plant samples for testing, and I can ask them to join an open discussion
forum, where genetics will be the primary topic. I hope it's still
a free country, even if not a free world.
Finally, if Kevin has made it all the way to the bottom of this posting,
perhaps I should learn this acronym <VBG> so that I don't use it incorrectly
thought the course of some conversation.
TIA, to all of you Hosta Scholars. You know who you are...
#1 Plantsman at http://hostahaven.com
1250 41st St
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516