Elementary School teacher that needs some insight
Recently I have been considering doing a selective breeding experiment with my students using plants. The problem is that I know very little about botany, and even less about genetics. This means I have no idea if an experiment like this is even feasible. Therefore, I figured I should try and get some advice from people that know far more about plants than myself. What I'd like to do is take a plant, select an aspect of it, and then have the students try and alter that aspect though a number of generations of the plant. From what I understand, it will work best if it is self-germinating, because we will not have to worry about reproduction. However, if it is self-germinating, will that quality pretty much put an end to the experiment before it starts due to there needing to be a defect in order for a change to occur? Also, I live in New England, so any plant we choose will likely have to live inside for at least part of the year. It will also likely need to reproduce quickly, in order to get as many generations in as possible. Luckily I teach in a Montessori school, so my students will have up to three years to conduct it, if it stands a chance of success that is. My questions basically come down to: 1) Is this even possible to pull off? 2) If so, what sort of plant should I ideally look for? (suggestions would be great) 3) What is the time span I should be looking at in order for us to see visible change in the first generation and current generation of the plant? 4) Am I wrong in my assumption that a defect has to occur in a self-germinating plant in order for visible change to take place?