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What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

Posted by sambal z8 Seattle WA (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 24, 07 at 16:15

Hi. I'm a newbie to this forum. A few years ago I ordered some heuchera and some hosta seeds that were described as being the seeds from open pollinated F1 plants. There is one heuchera from this seeding that has wonderful vigor, blooms over a very long time, and is of good size. It starts blooming earlier than my other heuchs, and nearly all of the blossoms produced seeds. I'm guessing that it was most likely selfed.I am getting ready to sow these seeds. Is it correct to expect the babies to revert back to the parents of the original F1's? What are the progency of the original F1 babies called? And, what do I call their babies? I'm having trouble keeping track of what to label the plants. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Happy Holidays. Sam


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

Sam,

I think we discussed this elsewhere. The progeny of F1 hybrids are called F2 hybrids, so the seeds you received were F2 seeds. Your "Mikey" was an F2. The seeds you are getting ready to sow from Mikey are F3 seeds. Because "Mikey" was heterozygous, your F3 seedlings will vary quite a lot, but some of them might be good, and there is some possibility that some of them might be even better than "Mikey". There is no guarantee of that, because random processes are at work.

MM


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

  • Posted by sambal z8 Seattle WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 25, 07 at 15:47

Thank you maineman! Now,all I need to do is hope for good germination and keep the snails and slugs away. Sam


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

Sam,

"...all I need to do is hope for good germination and keep the snails and slugs away."

Slugs seem to love our cool moist growing season and I have found that a product called Sluggo is very effective against them, and it is safe and non-toxic as well. You just sprinkle the stuff around on the ground. Chances are that your local garden center or hardware store has it in stock, but if not, there are abundant online sources.

Snails also don't like to crawl on sand, so a mulch of sand is somewhat effective at keeping them away. I use both sand and Sluggo. There are other products that also contain iron phosphate that are probably as good.

MM


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

I also have a question related to this.

Say you cross plantA and plantB and get 20 seeds. The seeds are called F1. You grow all the seeds and get all 20 plants, and let's call these plant1, plant2, to plant20.

Now my understanding is if you cross Plant1 and Plant2, for example, the seed is called F2.

But what if you self pollinate a plant? That is, you cross Plant1 with itself. Are the seeds of Plant1 x Plant1 also called F2?


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

Dave,

"But what if you self pollinate a plant? That is, you cross Plant1 with itself. Are the seeds of Plant1 x Plant1 also called F2?"

Yes, the selfs of an F1 hybrid are called F2s. A commercial breeder would use inbred strains for your plantA and plantB and they would be significantly different, each having some unique traits that are desired in the F1 hybrid.

If your plantA and plantB came from uniform "pure" inbred strains, all of their F1 progeny will be very much alike, and that is considered to be commercially desirable, because they all will match the description and picture on the F1 seed packet.

In that case, your Plant1 and Plant2 F1s will be essentially identical and it won't make any significant difference whether you cross Plant 1 with Plant2 or Plant 1 with Plant 1 or Plant 2 with Plant 2. They all will be F2s, and because the genes in the original plantA and plantB are being recombined in random ways, the F2 generation will vary a lot with a large number of different combinations of the original A and B characteristics.

In my zinnia breeding hobby I didn't want to spend several years to create pure inbred strains to start with. I might do that later. I wanted fast results, so I started out in 2006 by planting several different packets of commercial seeds. They varied quite a lot. Even the separate colors of zinnias, like white for example, weren't really inbred. They were field grown and people were hired to go into the field and kill any zinnias that weren't white. That is sometimes called "roguing". They didn't take the extra time to select for a specified plant type or flower form. So a lot of variation appeared in those white zinnias with respect to details of plant habit, flower form, and such. And since bees actually do a fair amount of crossing as they work a field, my "open pollinated" zinnias actually contained a fair percentage of random F1 hybrids between different white zinnias, many of which were "off type" even though they were white.

But I picked only the "best" of those whites to do my crosses. I did the same with the other packets of zinnias. The commercial growers can't afford to be very selective, but the hobbyist can select to very high standards.

So if I were to do the crosses in your example, there is a significant chance that one or both of my plantA and plantB might come out of the commercial seed packet as an F1 or an F2 hybrid instead of inbred strains. So when I might think I was crossing a "pure strain" with another "pure strain" I might actually be crossing plantA (actually an F1 hybrid between unknown random parents) with plantB (actually an F2 hybrid courtesy of the bees).

So while I might be expecting my Plant1 and Plant2 to be identical F1 hybrids, they could turn out to be considerably different looking. If I didn't have some idea of what goes on in the seed grower's fields, I might be totally mystified by the results from their seed packets and the results from my crosses with them. Since "open pollinated" zinnias are actually bee-pollinated, they may be almost anything, including hybrids or hybrids between hybrids or hybrids between hybrids between hybrids. You can't really control what comes in your commercial seed packets, but you can control which individuals you select to breed with.

As long as you keep selecting only the best specimens to use, you will make progress. Sometimes a surprising amount of progress. Because the commercial seed houses simply can't afford to devote the same amount of attention to the crossing that you can do. I may not be "smarter than a Fifth grader", but I definitely am smarter than a bee.

When a new F1 hybrid zinnia is introduced, the first year it is quite uniform because it was produced from freshly inbred parent lines. But in successive years the inbred parent lines aren't quite so inbred and the F1 hybrids starts to be a little less uniform. The F1 hybrid Peter Pan zinnias were a case in point. In later years they became an increasingly loose approximation to their original description. I am not sure they were even produced for the 2008 season, and we may just now be witnessing another extinction of a good F1 zinnia variety. Too bad someone didn't stabilize that F1 strain as an open pollinated strain. I hope that I still have some seeds left over from previous years. Peter Pans had compact plants like the current Magellans and Dreamlands, but they had cactus flowered flower forms instead of the dahlia flowered currently available compact zinnias.

So, with the "passing" of the Peter Pans, we are losing possibly the only available cactus flowered compact zinnia strain. If home gardeners saved a lot more of their own seeds from all kinds of plants, things like that wouldn't happen.

MM


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

MM, this is so fascinating, and you are fascinating too!

If you don't mind, I am going to ask a few more questions. If these are discussed in standard books, just let me know as I plan to read up anyway.

First, related to the gene that causes different characteristics, I have read "Plant Breeding as a Hobby. It has a very good explanation but it uses an example of single gene (red or yellow in the example).

But a plant has a set of genes that causes it to be different from another. I read that some has 22 of them. 11 from the male and 11 from the female. My question is, within a plant, does the males have all the same 11 combination, and the females have all the same 11 combination?

Or here is the question in a more practical way. Say I have PlantA and PlantB. They have lots of flowers now. If I take ONE flower from PlantA and cross it with ONE flower from PlantB, will I have all possible combinations that I can have? Or will I get more combinations if I take different flowers from PlantA and cross them with different flowers from PlantB?

<< When a new F1 hybrid zinnia is introduced, the first year it is quite uniform because it was produced from freshly inbred parent lines. But in successive years the inbred parent lines aren't quite so inbred and the F1 hybrids starts to be a little less uniform. >>

But why is this happening? Does that mean the parents are not stable in itself so when they self cross the parents to be new parents, they are actually different? If the parents are stable, they can always generate new parents that are the same by self crossing so the F1 will remain the same, right?


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RE: What is the progeny of an F1 that is open pollinated?

Dave,

"But a plant has a set of genes that causes it to be different from another. I read that some has 22 of them. 11 from the male and 11 from the female. My question is, within a plant, does the males have all the same 11 combination, and the females have all the same 11 combination?"

I think by "genes" in that question, you meant chromosomes. Each chromosome has hundreds or thousands of genes. Although animals, including humans, have sex determining chromosomes, I don't think that is the case for plants, which frequently have both sexes on the same plant, or even in the same flower.

"Or here is the question in a more practical way. Say I have PlantA and PlantB. They have lots of flowers now. If I take ONE flower from PlantA and cross it with ONE flower from PlantB, will I have all possible combinations that I can have? Or will I get more combinations if I take different flowers from PlantA and cross them with different flowers from PlantB?"

If both plants were "perfectly inbred" (homozygous), the answer would be yes. However, in the real world your plants very likely are not perfectly homozygous, so you could get some additional results from your second A on B cross. You could also get some additional results from B on A crosses. However, the differences might be small and you might not notice them without careful scrutiny. Or they could be noticeable, depending on the degree to which your plants were heterozygous.

"<< When a new F1 hybrid zinnia is introduced, the first year it is quite uniform because it was produced from freshly inbred parent lines. But in successive years the inbred parent lines aren't quite so inbred and the F1 hybrids starts to be a little less uniform. >>

But why is this happening? Does that mean the parents are not stable in itself so when they self cross the parents to be new parents, they are actually different? If the parents are stable, they can always generate new parents that are the same by self crossing so the F1 will remain the same, right?"

Many plants begin to suffer when they are inbred for more than four or five generations, so the seed stock must be allowed some interbreeding within each line just to keep viable seeds from the inbred lines available from year to year. And once the plant breeders turn their breeding stock over to the seed growers, things may not be done quite as carefully, for a variety of reasons.

Incidentally, I did discover an apparent source for the Peter Pan zinnias. I think I will order some of those, because they used to be available nearly everywhere, and now they are getting increasingly hard to find.

MM


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