hybridizing 3 plants together

AltitoApril 9, 2013

what happens when you have 3 varieties of lets say tomatoes and you want to breed all 3 into a super-tomato. i'd hope that after 8 years or so, the new variety would stabilize.

Here's my thought... we start off with varieties A, B, and C. The experimental plant which we're making is called X. each year we switch which variety gets bread with X until X has hybridized with each variety at least 3 times to promote gene stability.

1. breed A x B to make X
2. breed X x C to make X2
3. breed X2 x A to make X3
4. breed X3 x B to make X4
5. breed X4 x C to make X5
6. breed X5 x A to make X6
7. breed X6 x B to make X7
8. breed X7 x C to make X8

the idea would be to keep on rotating this patern until X can breed with X to create more X's. I don't know how long this would take or if 3 parent plants will work the way I'd hope. Any thoughts or experiences?

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I think it would be simpler to breed A and B, grow out the results until you have a tomato with the traits you were looking for from each ("X") and then breed X to C. Then grow out the new line until you have all the traits you want.

Or look for an existing variety that is already "X" and save some time.

But I'm not an expert, just getting started myself. I found this site pretty useful.

Here is a link that might be useful: website on tomato breeding

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:09PM
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it's not about saving time; i have my whole life to experiment with plants and i will develop breeds from my favorite strains to make my own unique breeds throughout my life. It's a hobby; not a burden. The plant kingdom is full of infinite wonders... but I digress.

I don't think it would be easier to breed A x B and then breed X x C. I feel like that would take more time to stabilize. I read it takes about 8 years for some plants or even more, so this can potentially take 16 years or more. I want to rotate the variety each year for consistency and have X be introduced to A, B, or C's traits in alternating years to receive a potency of A, B or C's traits each year. this way, each year X(?) x (A, B, or C) will both be different strains from the previous X(?).

I apologize if this is difficult to make sense of... In my head it does, but that doesn't matter so much when i'm trying to explain this to other people, hahah.

Here's the reason for this hybridizing experiment. I have this theory that by introducing a parent rotation each year, X will be more apt to change and perhaps develop completely new traits or something magical like that... just like a mutt; which can be one of the smartest and well adapted of all the dog breeds; each one with their own uniqueness. Heck, i'm going to perform another hybridizing experiment at the same time where it's not only a mix of A, B, and C, but also D, E, F, and so on.... never repeating the original pepper. will generations of acquiring different traits from different parents result in one of the most adaptable peppers of our time? or just a DNA overloaded flop of a pepper plant? only time will tell... has someone already done the time?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:02PM
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that is a great article, nialialea. although it doesn't address multiple parent rotations, it paints a nice picture of the general stabilization process.

This post was edited by Altito on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 16:10

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Near the bottom of the page is a lot of good links to more information on that site, notably quite a bit about the genetics of a tomato.

Your plan sounds overly complicated to me, but it's your hobby.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 6:45PM
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I don't have anything against your leisurely approach to combining the three tomatoes to make a super tomato. But you can get results quicker by basically making all of your crosses the first year. In other words, cross A and B to get X, cross A and C to get Y, and also cross B and C to get Z. Then, in the next generation, which could possibly be in that same year, allowing for the possibility of getting two generations per year, cross X and Y to get U, X and Z to get V and cross Y and Z to get W. And, while you are still in that first year second generation phase, do your backcross combinations. Cross X with C to get D, cross Y with B to get E, and cross Z with A to get F.

That way you can approach your second year with a lot more possibilities for crosses for the first generation of that year. You now have seed lots A, B, C, X, Y, Z, U, V, W, D, E, and F, with an almost mind boggling number of possibilities for crosses and back crosses.

They say you should never save seed from an F1 hybrid, and as a plant breeder you will obviously not pay any attention to that. You will save seeds from F1 hybrids, and more importantly, you will make hybrids between F1 hybrids. And you won't hesitate to save seeds from those hybrids of hybrids. No holds barred.

I am an amateur zinnia breeder. Although there are over a hundred different zinnia varieties to start with, you can accomplish only so much by gene combinations. The real power to create interesting results comes from recombining, not just from combining. For example, you couldn't create this zinnia from any amount of combining different zinnia cultivars.

That is because none of those cultivars have long slender three-forked petals. Likewise, this tubular petaled zinnia can't be created by combining existing cultivars.

Our garden zinnias were developed by plant breeders from a wildflower that was found in Mexico. It was a totally unimpressive little single purple flower.

But, when you think about it, that humble little wildflower wasn't the real beginning of zinnias as we know them. That little wild flower was one of the few surviving remnants of a possibly amazing variety of prehistoric zinnias.

The protozinnias may have differed as wildly from the zinnias we know today as prehistoric creatures differed from the animals of today. It is possible that some zinnia DNA still contains remnants of lost code for prehistoric characteristics. That is why, in my zinnia breeding, I concentrate on bringing out those hidden characteristics by repeatedly recombining the genetic factors. Maybe your super tomato is a dino-tomato.


This post was edited by zenman on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 9:59

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 1:54AM
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mauch1(z6b PA)

You will not gain stability by repeatedly breeding with 3 different varieties. Breeding back to a parent is called recurrent backcrossing (because your crossing your hybrid back to one of the parents) Backcrossing to a single parent to capture traits you want is useful (as long as you don't lose the traits you want from the other parent variety). But by repeatedly backcrossing to different parents, you are constantly yanking 'X' in different directions. When you cross 'X' with C (the 2nd cross) how will you know if 'X2' has all the traits from A and B that you want? At the end of the 8 years some of the 'X8' progency (and you can't have just 1 X8 plant) may have all the genes you want, but it won't be stabilized.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Hello mauch1, responding to your email, [This message originated at GardenWeb]


On April 16th you posted to the hybridizing forum and included some pictures of your zinnias. They were gorgeous! I particularly liked the lavender flowers whose petals split into 3. How in your seed saving/breeding did you get such forms? Did you just keep saving seed until something interesting popped up, or did you find those genes hiding in purchased seeds?


(your name here)

(PLEASE NOTE: The member responding to your post has chosen not to reveal his or her email address. Therefore, you cannot reply to this message via email.)

Since I cannot reply to your email by email, I will respond here. It is probably better to do it here, anyway, because your question and my response might be helpful to others.

In regard to the forked petals zinnias (I refer to them as "toothies") I had crossed several different Whirligigs with cactus flowered zinnias like Burpee's Burpeeanas, in an attempt to get bi-colored and tri-colored cactus types, and I noticed a few of the hybrids had inherited little teeth from the Whirligigs. I liked the effect, and crossed them with each other, and some of the next generation had more pronounced teeth, so I intercrossed them. And so on.

One of my goals (actually, I have many zinnia breeding goals) is to create a strain of toothy zinnias in a complete range of colors, including some multi-colored forms. In answer to your question, I am not relying on simple selection, but on repeatedly intercrossing different specimens that show some tendency in the right direction, and culling specimens that don't. I do quite a bit of culling at first-bloom time, so that I can focus on the best 5% to 10% of my zinnias.

If you are curious about zinnia breeding as a hobby, there is a series of message threads in the GardenWeb Annuals forum with the title, "It can be fun to breed your own zinnias". That series is up to Part 20 now.

Zinnias offer a unique set of advantages as a subject for amateur breeding experiments, including easy-to-handle seeds, ease and speed of growing, fast flowering, easy cross-pollination, and a huge variety of flower colors and forms, and plants that range from only a few inches high to several feet high. In many areas you can cross-pollinate your first outdoor generation, immediately plant seeds from them and see the results of your crosses that same year. By also growing zinnias indoors, as I do, you can get up to four generations of zinnias in a year, which makes it possible to do some really effective breeding. (Sometimes I think of them as the fruit flies of the plant kingdom).

But indoors or outdoors, zinnias are an "instant gratification" hobby. They can be as casual or involved as you want them to be. For me, they have gone from planting a few packets of zinnia seed in the corner of the garden to an enthusiastic avocation.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:51PM
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