Man-Made plants (was Plant Snatchin')

ljrmiller(z7 NV)September 13, 2005

Planty, except for the gene transfer from Caladium to Colocasia you mentioned, I wouldn't call the other examples man-made in the strictest sense. True, cross-pollinating aroids from different continents is not exactly likely, but what if a fly or a bee or other natural pollinator cross-pollinated the plants on your patio? I don't know about you, but I have plants from all over the world in my garden.

Now that's not to say that some of the really unusual hybrids and tissue-cultured plants aren't a huge pain to grow (at least in certain climates). What grows well here in Nevada never fails to amaze me, just as what doesn't grow amazes me. By tinkering with soil, watering, light and exposure, as well as providing a warm place to "wake up" dormant rhizomes, corms and bulbs of tropical plants in spring, I've managed to succeed fairly well. And if I don't, I try something else until I've killed a given genus/species/variety three times :-)

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I think we've opened pandora's box again with a controversial thread! LOL!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Look at it this way. If you took leaves from a coconut tree and leaves from a fan palm, and weaved it into a hat, would that hat be man made? YES. Although nature made the leaves, man made the two leaves into a hat, just like man made the cross pollenation. In nature, the two leaves would NEVER weave themselves into a hat. Just like in nature Amazonica would NEVER cross pollenate a Macrorrhiza to produce a Brian Williams.

Defination per Webster's Dictionary;

Man-made: adj. "Made by humans RATHER than occurring in nature."

So...if you physically cross pollenated 2 plants would that be occuring in nature? Or made by humans? Humans.

Hope this enlightens your perspective. I enjoy a good psychological challenge once and a while, you really gave my brain a workout trying to explain it to you. =)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 11:24PM
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    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 11:32PM
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I am open to votes from the audience whether you agree with ljrmiller or Planty. Cast your vote.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 11:34PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I am with ljrmiller. I think it is more man-arranged and nature made.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:04AM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

I am voting to look up definition in Websters, also definitely- which must be the #1 misspelled word on gardenweb and all email forums.
LOL. Before I get hate mail from all you spelling-challenged people, let me tell you I am kidding!
Sort of.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:32AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Planty, okay, what about this scenario: could you call the offspring man-made if you placed the pollen from one aroid species in a glass vial on a shelf above your whole aroid collection? Let's assume that the pollen will be stable under these conditions, and that two months later a different aroid in the same genus and/or species blooms. About this time your Kitty From Hell discovers the shelf, decided your pollen vial is a Great Toy, and whacks the vial onto the bench with the blooming aroid. The vial shatters, dispersing pollen into the air. Some of it finds its way to the blooming aroid, pollinating it.

Would the offspring be "man-made", or more accurately, "cat-made"? Or what if the cat was chasing a bird loose in the greenhouse, and the bird knocked the vial of pollen down? Would that be "bird-made" offspring?

I don't see simple cross-pollination as responsible for "man-made" plants, even if a human has to save and/or transfer the pollen. Then, the human is merely acting as a pollinator and that's a fairly natural phenomenon. Birds pollinate. Bees pollinate. Other insects pollinate. Bats pollinate. Wind pollinates. You get the idea.

IF, however, a technique called embryo rescue is then used to sustain the fertilized ova, that could be called "man-made", because it requires significant human intervention. If either plant, pollen or egg required the application of colchicine to induce polyploidy in order to cause successful cross-pollination, I'd call that "man-made". If there is genetic manipulation in the form of gene transfer (I tinker with DNA for a living--but not plant DNA), I'd call that "man-made" as well.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 11:54AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hey, I'm wasting time having lunch and thought this was all fun. I also "tinker" with DNA by making many mutations, chimeras do gene transfer...whatever....all mammalian by the way. On the colchicine front....there are certainly natural products that screw with both actin and microtubles, such as, man-made or not? Heck, for that matter, virtually every compound you use for your DNA work is naturally occurring so the question really becomes what constitutes a "significant" amout of intervention?? Suppose a plant virus could act as the vector for gene transfer (can this happen by the way?....homologus recombination and all that sort of jazz) that point gene transfer is not off the table either. I'd have to say that simply acting as a vector (doing the pollination) is hardly man-made, but I'm also of the belief that a tree does not make a sound if it falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it.....physics and biology after all.....I'm not much into philosophy!! Have fun with the thread...maybe I'll stop back in to see how it went after a while :o) Dan

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 12:57PM
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It sounds like splitting hairs, and I wouldn't worry too much about anyone else's definition, but I'd have to say my own interpretation would match planty's and Webster's. If it doesn't occur in nature, then man-arranged would be the same thin to me as man-made. (Should we start a "man-made" vs. "human-made discussion"?) The term I've generally heard or read is "man-made cross" to differentiate such things from GMOs.
Yeah, theoretically some of those crosses could occur in nature, but I guess, given a billion years or so, if coconut palms remained extant, somewhere on earth, swirling winds could naturally weave some fronds into a hat shape. I'd still call it man-made.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 2:07PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Isn't it a "disabled" virus that gets put into Agrobacterium as a way to mediate gene transfer? I'll have to ask my pal Art or do some googling/PubMed searching to find out.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 2:16PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Okay, I looked it up. A plasmid is modified (Ti plasmid) to contain the gene of interest and inserted back into Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This bacteria then does all the heavy lifting to effect gene transfer.

Alternately, there are Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) based vectors for viral transfection of plant cells.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 5:10PM
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Oh...I give up. Thanks Ooojen.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 6:32PM
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This is one reason I like these forums. They're for the simple folks like me; who just accidently dropped a dictionary and it opened to the page with the word agrobacterium on it. In other words, this forum is getting to be what I call "above and beyond" the backyard gardener. If all of you, however, want to continue in this menses format - please feel free to do so. Perhaps then, the moderator will create an "aroids for beginners" forum, and we won't have to filter out these useless postings.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 8:12PM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

What about selection? If you look at a historic iris vs. a modern or space age iris, they look very different and even have a few cultural variences. For the most part historics are tougher faster growing plants with smaller, less ruffled and eye catching flowers. In fact some of the new hybrids look like completely different plants. I would imagine if the selection process continues tall bearded iris might become incompatible with its origional form, which by the way is a composition of very many different iris that were crossed by man-kind and not just Iris Germanica. This yielded the modern day iris and is a section all its own.

Iris "Moon Palace" vs:

Sass Seedling #1 -Historic

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 8:31PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I thought the forums were for everyone at all levels of knowledge and ability.

As it happens, I'm a molecular biologist by profession, a horticulturist by inclination, and an obsessed gardener in my free time. The three kind of run together.

I found a new mail-order/online nursery today--you guys probably already know about it: Natural Selections (I love the name--neat pun on evolution and biology). I saw lots of things I Must Have, but not until next spring!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 8:41PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Susan, edification is not useless....PERIOD!!!!

Yes, the guts are ripped out of the viral vector to make it so that it is incapable of replication, same as is done for gene transfer trials in patients for all sorts of diseases, including CF which is where my earlier research centered around. In this way you incorporate the gene of interest while not infecting the plant with a virus which could theoretically be harmful.....atleast this is true in human gene transfer arrangements. They've actually considered the ebola virus as a vector for CF since it is incredibly proficient at infecting airway cells, while the standard cold virus is not (adenovirus), despite what you may believe later this winter!!

It would be fun to try this sort of stuff in plants....maybe you could engineer mutations into the pastid gene and then incorporate this into the genome as a mechanism of introducing variegation....and this way, it wouldn't be so useless since everyone would be buying $400 variegated Amorphophallus off of you like they are with the craziness surrounding the 'Shattered Glass' variant!!

OK, I'm done with this thread since it has obviously caused some disdain amongst our aroid colleagues :o) Dan

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:38PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

klavier, I am SUCH a "plant hoe"! I love the old iris, especially Sass varieties (I used to live in northeast Kansas, and bounced all over the area, including southeast Nebraska, and loved hearing the old "Sass Brothers" stories.

I also love the flashy new varieties. Same goes for just about any plant family that catches my eye--I'm equally fond of fancy new hybrids and rare, but old species.

bluebonsai/Dan--wait!!!!! You worked with CFTR? I started my career in science working on chloride channels, including the occasional bit of CFTR stuff. You can't just leave me hanging here! Right now I'm tearing my hair out over ClC channels and Bestrophin genes. Ain't research great????

Susan, by way of explanation, those of us who do life science research for a living are some of those lucky souls who get paid to do something they love. Or that's what I tell myself when a reaction fails.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 11:07PM
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"Plant Hoe" , now theres two words I never though I would hear in the same sentence. Whats next? "Aroid Pimp?"

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 1:23AM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

Did you know that when you buy a papaya, what you are eating is genetically engineered? In fact there are only a few non-altered papaya left in the world. They essentially went extinct in nature because of a disease, but us humans saved them by making resistant plants. As a result the disease is now extinct (which was inevitable). Oh how the tables have turned.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 10:29AM
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Susan- Some of the technical scientific stuff isn't of interest to some forum folks, but then again, some of the basic questions aren't of interest to advanced scientific growers. I don't see either "level" taking over the forum; there's something for everyone.
Stick around bluebonsai-- some of us who aren't molecular biologists have enough of a scientific bent to enjoy learning. it pre-Mensa syndrome

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 11:46AM
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Well, unfortunately I've seen neither lately. Either there is a thread on everything from morality, to the Bush administration, or a thread on genetically engineered plants. I have seen LOTS of questions hanging out there with absolutely NO response to them because apparently they are too basic for most of you. I finally quit asking any basic questions because of little to no response. At first it seemed everyone was enthusiastic, but unless you're walking about with a bioengineering degree or criminal tendencies, there's nothing, and I mean NOTHING, worthwhile on this forum.

For some reason I thought this forum was for edification toward a "general" audience. However, it has become sliced and diced into degrees of intelligence, rather than trying to help the people who have solicited honest, simple advice on growing aroids. You might acquire some enthusiasts who want to know more down the road. But this forum IMO is heading for disaster, because it can't get back to basics (res ipsa loquiter)! You all have totally turned me off in regard to learning about aroids altogether. I thought these threads were for fun, too. I work all day at doing legal research, and I don't want to come home and read about gene splicing or whatever. I know this is not a "tailor made" forum, but it doesn't seem to cater to all classes of aroid enthusiasts. There is the poor folk and the scientists, and nothing in between.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 4:00PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

susan---sigh...I guess I just come from another world. There are so many amazing plants from all parts of the world growing in so many different environments. While I appreciate advice from time to time, I've often found the "best" advice is to do a little "geography homework". That is, I find out where the plant (or the parent plant) is found in nature, if it IS found in nature. Then I try to replicate those conditions as closely as possible.

That way I don't have to ask as many "basic" questions and besides, if nobody's answering "basic" questions anyways, then I'm going to have to do my own research to get an answer.

Well, that, and my garden is one gigantic "science project", or experiment if you will. It's less painful to lose a plant when you are happily "experimenting", knowing full well the "experiment" MIGHT fail. It's also way more rewarding when the "experiment" actually succeeds :-). Okay, except the neighbors are probably getting tired of me squeaking in excitement when a plant blooms, or re-emerges after a harsh winter, or sets seed, or does something I hoped it would. I'm giving the squeak-toy dog next door a run for the money in the noisy department lately.

You probably would have been horrified at my butt-wiggling happydance when I discovered my Calla lily had settled to the bottom of my pond, survived the winter AND re-emerged in spite of repeated depredations by the Raccoon From Hell. If not horrified, amused :-)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:05PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)


What the heck is that venom all asked about rarevariegated plants and got lots of responses!! You asked about shipping plants bare root....I asked what the plant was since it obviously makes a difference in how to ship and YOU never bothered to respond to that question. If you post questions.....remedial or advanced.....I find that people on this forum genuinely try to answer as best they can. However, if you are rarely asking questions or making the initial do not make a ton of initial posts with questions IMHO...then you can not expect a lot of responses to those questions. If someone tries to help (see above) and you fail to respond then that would be your fault!!

ljrmiller: I no longer work on CF, and rarely worked on CFTR....I did a lot of stuff on primary cultures of human bronchial epithelia following lung transplantation. I now work almost exclusively on KCa3.1, the intermediate conductance Ca-activated K channel. I agree, when an expt works out and you see something that has never been observed before by man-kind (making plants or not) that is an incredible rush that just can not be beat :o) Dan

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:27PM
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Sorry, guys. I was freaking out here, when I should have been freaking out somewhere else. That's what doctors do to you when you've had cancer once - THEY freak out and want to run every ungodly test in the world on you, and, in turn, freak the PATIENT out! They send out letters saying "we need to do further studies".....blah, blah, blah. I call them, and they say, "oops! It was an accident; shouldn't have gone to you!" So, I've had enough scientific explanations to last a lifetime, from BRCA1s and BRCA2s, S Phase factors, you name it. I'm rambling, which means I better shush.

I just hate going places where I feel like an idiot.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:48PM
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MacDaddy(z6a NY)

My parents had me on purpose but they had my brother "by accident". Does that mean I'm "man made" and he is not?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 7:43PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Dan, well, in staying in ion channels you haven't strayed much. (Neither have I, clearly) One of our grad students was working with SK channels, and there's still some mucking with BK channels in my previous department.

Susan, actually the docs probably like YOU a lot more than they like me when it comes to gene stuff and pharmacology. All they have to do is start to explain and my chattermachine just turns on. Worse still, the next visit I'm back with all kinds of scientific papers: "I pulled these up from PubMed and this one is so cool because...." Their eyes get this funny glazed look ;-)

Planty, I LOVE the Aroid Pimp graphic! Tooo funny!

And unless your daddy was a woman or an elephant, you still qualify as MAN-made, I think

to all: I banged around on the International Aroid Society website. That was a Very Bad Idea. Now my list of plants I want is a good foot longer than it was yesterday....

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 9:08PM
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