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Are there "Identical Twin" plants?

Wayne Parrott wparrott at uga.edu
Sat Dec 16 14:00:38 EST 2000

George Hammond wrote:

> GH:  You've totally missed the point. I DON'T WANT TO CONTROL ANYTHING.
>      What I want to know is, what is the Standard Deviation of plant
>      growth in the "real environment" when we are talking strictly about
>      a crop of geneetically identical plants?
>        Now, somebody in agriculture must KNOW the answer to this, say
>      for potatoes, or onions or some other asexual crop plant.

It depends on the variety and on the trait, and it depends if you are talking
about the SD within a field or between fields.  For something like flower color,
the SD would be close to zero.  For something like height or yield, it would
fairly uniform within a field (barring spots which are overly wet/dry, or
otherwise inappropropriate), but could be quite large between fields, depending
on how distant they are.  Breeders generally call this genotype x environment
interactions.  Genotypes are known which are more stable across environments than
others.  In the end, the SD is difficult to predict without measuring it.

Keep in mind that plants need not reproduce vegetatively to be genetically
identical.  Hybrids from inbred parents (as in a field of corn) are genetically
identical.  So are inbred plants (as in a field of soybean) and apomictic plants
(as in dandelions).

Because of the variability that a given variety of genetically identical plants
exists, seed companies generally avoid having a central breeding station.
Instead, they depend on having multiple breeding stations, each one breeding for
the immediate vecinity.


> snip
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> George Hammond, M.S. Physics
> Email:    ghammond at mediaone.net
> Website:  http://people.ne.mediaone.net/ghammond/index.html
> -----------------------------------------------------------

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