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Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #12

  • Subject: Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #12
  • From: halinar@open.org
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 00:43:18 -0800

Bill:

>Treating with above-normal levels of plant hormones does seem to
>clearly cause a number of mutations in hosta in tissue culture labs.

High levels of hormones in TC doesn't cause mutations in other plants, 
so it is unreasonable to assume they cause mutations in hosta.  The 
"mutations" we see in hostas is more likely due to transposable 
elements and it's not all that difficult to pick them up without doing 
TC or using high levels of hormones.  Whether or not these are true 
mutations as we normally think of mutations is an interesting debate 
in semantics.  I've made some crosses using Francee sports and didn't 
detect any difference from regular Francee, but the sample population 
was too small to have any significent meaning.  In some hostas you can 
pick up small variations that seem to be fairly stable.  The question 
is how do these variations behave genetically when compared to the 
standard for that cultivar.  I've been trying to make some crosses 
along these lines, but the problem I'm having right now is that hostas 
that seem to produce the most variants are also very infertile.

An example of how to do this would be to cross the same hosta to 
Patriot and Minuteman and compare the results.  In Francee you can 
easily see two color forms, one is darker green then the other, but 
the difference isn't easily seen unless you are looking for it.  
Patriot and Minuteman are the same variation in color as in Francee, 
but the difference is more easily seen.  Francee will also produce a 
very pale green form that is stable, but appears to be a rare sport.  
The pale green form appeared to act as a typical green Francee in 
crosses, but the fertility is so limited that it's hard to come to any 
conclusion.

You can also do this type of cross by using a good form of Great 
Expectation and the poor growing form which is easy enough to pick up 
and crossing the two forms to something else and comparing the 
progenies from the two populations.

Joe Halinar

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