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Re: Hosta Sports (and VBG)?


I wish I knew where to start with answering your message.  To put it 
bluntly and simply, you are putting the cart in front of the horse - 
WAY in front of the horse.  You seem to want to write a Shakespearian 
quality play before learning how to read or write.  You don't seem to 
have grasped the simplest understanding of Mendelain genetics but yet 
you want to understand linkage maps and the hosta geneome and its 
proteome.  Scientist are not going to be rushing out and doing a 
genome analysis of hostas any time soon.  

>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.

This might be nice to know, but you are talking millions and millions 
of dollars and many many years of time.  We are NOT going to be 
getting to that kind of level on this robin!  

>However, it seems we have been doing a little too much "dowsing" and 
>not enough "linkage mapping".

I wonder if you even know what a linkage map is and how you develop 
one!  First, before you can develop a linkage map you have to have 
genes that you can observe, either through phenotype or through some 
chemical analysis.  I doubt that there are many really good canidates 
for genes of this type in hostas.  And then you have to do all sorts 
of crosses and do statistical analysis to find out what is linked to 
what and how far apart they are.  You are talking about decades of 

>Maybe we're so wrapped up in expressing our egos

Speak for yourself, not the rest of us.  

>Sure, everyone has an ego and we all like to get it stroked,

Again, Andrew, please don't speak for all of us.  Some of us really do 
not have ego problems or even big egos to start with, and many of us 
do NOT need to have our egos stroked to advance the knowledge of hosta 
sporting and variegation.

>yet if we are to advance the scientific investigation, some of this 
>bickering and bantering may not be conducive toward reaching that 

Did you happen to get a copy of the 11 rules Bill Gates gave to a high 
school audience about what they didn't learn in school.  Rule number 
one was "Life is not fair - get used to it."  Well, Joe's version of 
that is "Not all discourse is fair - get use to it!"

>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.

Don't think that just because someone doesn't want to join hosa-open 
and join the sports discussion that it's because the discussions 
degenerate into banting or name calling.  They may not want to join 
because their already busy schedual is keeping them busy, they might 
not be all that interested in hostas, they may have family 
considerations and any one of other reasons for not participating.  

>yet how can we make quick progress when we let our emotions consume 

Bleeding heart liberals let their emotions consume them!  Some of us 
are NOT bleeding heart liberals!  Thank goodness!

>From reviewing the posts and the archives, even the Ph.D.'s are 
>disagreeing about which genetic nomenclature to use.

That's how science progresses!  I listen to you tell me why I am 
wrong, you listen to me as I tell you why you are wrong and then 
someone else tells the both of us that we both are wrong, and them we 
both gang up on the third person, and before long we realize we are 
all wrong and we eventually discover the truth.  Unfortunately, 
sometimes some people want to dictate their point of view and force 
everyone else to accept their opinion!  

>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)

Yes, but did you learn anything about Mendelian genetics?  Most modern 
genetics books hardly cover basic Mendelian genetics.

>I'm going to open a secure discussion regarding Hosta genetics at
>http://dev.hostahaven.com/discus.  And later,

I see NO reason for moving the discussion of hosta sports or 
variegation off of this robin.  

>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)

First, Vaughn's work while interesting was very limited in scope of 
material investigated and the number of progenies tested.  You 
shouldn't try to extrapolate too much from that research.  The reason 
"respected investigators and researchers seem to have some trouble 
accepting" Ben's "research" is that Ben did NOT do any research on 
hostas except for the flow cytometery work!  That's the problem!  

>Recently, Joe Halinar seemed to have some concern regarding the 
>accuracy of Flow Cytometry for analyzing the DNA content of Hosta.

There is some concern regards the accuracy of DNA content in hostas 
because the standard used is, I beleive, Agave DNA.  The actual DNA 
content of hosta nuceli isn't that important.  

>Or maybe his comments were more about the inferences drawn by Ben.

If I remember correctly, Ben was saying something to the effect that 
species A had 28 pg of DNA and species B had 32 pg of DNA and a 
certain hosta was thought to be a hybrid between A and B and it had 30 
pg DNA, so therefor it HAD to be a hybrid between the two species!  
This is nonsense and BAD science!  It certainly is evidence, but by 
itself it is meaningless.  The problem with Ben is that he makes these 
broad jumps of conclusions on very skimpy results.  It's NOT the flow 
cytometery work itself - that is fairly straight forward and is more 
then accurate enough, most of the time, for determining ploidy level.

>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.

Ben hasn't done any experiments with hostas, so it is going to be 
difficult to replicate them, except for the flow cytometry results, 
and no one is really disagreeing with those results - although it 
would be nice if Ben were to post the results to this robin!  

>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.

I don't diaagree with you, but if you can figure out just what 
research Ben did besides the flow cytometry work, please let us know! 

>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.

As far as I know no one is really challenging Ben's flow cytometry 
results - that's why you aren't hearing about any such challenges!  
The work is rather straight forward.  It barely qualifies as research.

>While there is ample room to challenge some of his other hybridizing 
>statements which may be but conjectures,

They are nothing but conjectures!

>to challenge his results and conclusions on the ploidy chimera issue
>requires replication of the work.

No one is challenging Ben's flow cytometry results, but it certainly 
doesn't hurt to recheck certain hostas that might be ploidy-chimerias 
to verify the results.  

>I hope we'll run around 100 samples but these things cost money.

If you want to run 100 samples and want to save some money, run them 
in batches of 3 or 4 samples mixed together.  If you take 4 hostas and 
mix them into one sample, then you only have to run 25 tests.  If you 
get only one peak at about the expected diploid level then you know 
all four hostas are diploid.  Thus, you saved yourself the cost of 
three tests!  If you get one main peak at the diploid level and one 
peak at the tet level, then you have to go back and run all four 
seperately to figure out which is the tet.  Instead of having to do 
100 test you may only have to end up doing 35 or 40.

>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 

My own personal feeling is that transposible elements are probably 
more important in hosta sporting them we are willing to accept right 
now.  The problem right now is that we need a lot more data before we 
can start into that area of discussion.  For example, we first have to 
have some idea of just how much of hosta variegation is due to 
chloroplast mutations compared to nuclear mutations.  Let's figure 
that out first.  Let's take the sensible approach and put the horse in 
front of the cart!

>Perhaps this has not been advanced because Ben's assertion of mitotic 
>recombination has been widely accepted,

Where have you been the last month!  The only one who believes in 
Ben's mitotic recombination theory is Ben!  We spent a month throughly 
disscrediting mitotic recombination as a cause for green edges on 
yellow hostas and Ben even finally admitted it was only a guess on his 
part!  And Ben has NEVER done any research to support this view!

>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.

Get together maybe a billion dollars and maybe you might be able to 
sequence some of the hosta species.  You really need to get real on 
this genome stuff.  DNA sequencing is going to be done on virus and 
bacteria disease organisms, disease causing insects and important food 
crops.  It might be nice to have some of this information about 
hostas, but I'm not sure what use we would put it to in regard to 
breeding hostas.  Mankind has been breeding plants and animals for 
some 10,000 years without knowing anything about genetics, so I think 
we can still continue to do a good job of it with out knowing the 
hosta genome.

>Toward the goal of pure science, I will be asking those who join the
>Hosta Genetics Discussion Forum

Good luck!  I can't speak for the two Jim's or Bill or any of the 
others who are involved in this discussion, but I see no reason for 
moving it off of hosta-open.

>If I have to take on the role of Carolyn Schaffner to keep us from 
>attacking each other, then so be it.

I don't know why it is, but it seems to me that bleeding heart 
liberals always want to be in control and dominate - "can't we all 
please just get along without all this bickering."  

>Of course, no one may ever post and then my job will become rather 

I think you better plan on a simple job!

>I realized several months ago that Ben Z. offers something of merit 
>to the Hosta community because of his molecular biological research.

I don't think anyone would disagree that Ben does have a lot to offer, 
IF he would only actually take part in the discussions!  Ben's 
approach is to state an opinion as a fact and then say "take it or 
leave it!"  That's NOT how you engage in a discussion!  I asked Ben 
about his ideas of the "Y" gene and his response didn't get to me 
because the digest came in truncated that day, and I asked him if he 
would resend his response to me because I was actually interested in 
his views.  I'm still waiting to find out what Ben thinks about the 
role of the "Y" gene.  How can be carry on a civil discussion when Ben 
refuses to participate in the actual discussion?

>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.

Don't you mean "... the discussion dictator!"  A dictatorship of one 
isn't much of a dictatorship!

>I know very little on this subject.

It's evident! <G>

Joe Halinar

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