barley breeding and peas

Kathleen Archer Kathleen.Archer at trincoll.edu
Thu Dec 4 09:03:39 EST 2003


Dear Plant Ed Folks,
I read John Hewitson's posting with great interest, as I have run across
a 
problem that I suspect could be due to plant breeding also.  In 1990 I 
bought 10 lbs of the old pea variety "Sparkle".  I used it to produce 
isolated chloroplasts for my work, and we also used it in some lab 
exercises for class.  Last year, I finally ran out and to my surprise, I 
could not find any seed company that carried "Sparkle" any more, and I
was 
told it was no longer in production.  No worries I thought, and went out 
and bought 10 lbs of another variety.  Didn't work.  Could not get
anywhere 
near the intactness percentages that Sparkle had produced.  So I bought 
packets of many pea varieties and tried them all, and discovered that
the 
percent intactness varied hugely from variety to variety.  To my dismay, 
none of them gave me what I would have considered acceptable chloroplast 
intactness.

Recently someone suggested I try "Little Marvel", another old variety
like 
Sparkle.  Wow - I got the best results I had seen in a year!   I don't
know 
why this should be so, but I can't imagine that the differences come
from 
the chloroplasts themselves.  Perhaps there are differences in the
cellular 
environment that effect the chloroplasts's ability to survive the
isolation 
process.  Anyway, I thought it would be interesting if I could track
down a 
pea breeder and see what they have been trying to breed out/breed in - 
maybe that would suggest an answer.

A little irony to end the story.  After my success with a small packet
of 
Little Marvel peas, I looked for a wholesaler from whom I could purchase
a 
big quantity at good price.  Finding one, I bought myself several
pounds, 
and when they arrived the box also contained this company's catalog
(Meyer 
Seeds, International).  Flipping to the pea section, I found that they 
still offer "Sparkle"!

Kathleen Archer
******************************
Kathleen Archer
Dept. Biology
Trinity College
Hartford, CT 06106
Ph: (860)297-2226
kathleen.archer at mail.trincoll.edu
*******************************

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