Continuing Education on Commercial Growing Methods
I am posting this in Gardening because we have a lot of people here who are very new to gardening. ---------------------------------------------------- Embryo Rescue Technique Have you ever wondered how they manage to produce new seedless grape varieties? How about crosses (called WIDE CROSSES) between plants like plums and apricots? I have, but until lately I didn't know how they did it. In animals, we simply breed two animals of the same species having desirable traits together in order to get offspring having the desired traits. Animals breeders know ahead of time that they cannot breed two animals of different species and get a fertile offspring. An example of this would be the crossing of a horse with a donkey. The offspring, called a mule, is a sterile hybrid that cannot reproduce itself. Sterile hybrids are often called "mules". Plants often do not have enough plasticity (variation) in their genes to make selective breeding worthwhile, so plant breeders will look at the family of plants a plant comes from in hopes of finding a related species that does have the desired traits. The two plant species are then crossbred to produce a hybrid offspring. In some plant families, the hybrid offspring are generally fertile and this allows the plant offspring to be used in further plant breeding. Examples of this include roses (hybrid tea roses), daylilies, and modern iris. Unfortunately, there are a lot of plants that this cannot be done with. The seed may form in the plant ovary but it dies before it matures for some reason. Back during the 1900's it was discovered that a few of these unripe embryo seed could be rescued if they were removed from the plant ovary and transferred to a test tube filled with a nutrient agar and held there until a seedling developed from it. This technique is called EMBRYO RESCUE. Alstroemeria, lilies, and seedless grapes are plants that respond well to Embryo Rescue. (I think working with Orchids is where we first learned to do this.) The seedling plant that develops from Embryo Rescue is then propagated asexually using methods such as: Cuttings, grafting, twin-scaling or bulb-chipping. Tissue culture is also sometimes used but only on those plants which remain genetically stable. (Reputable firms no longer tissue culture hybrid daylilies because they started noticing that the plants that resulted from it were changing.) --------------------------- For more and better information, try Googling "Embryo Rescue".