How does cross breeding work?

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by gerryk, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. gerryk

    gerryk Member

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    Can someone explain to me briefly the difference between creating a new variety of tomato that produces seeds that are "true" and creating a "hybrid" variety that will not produce seeds that are "true"?

    I am an amateur gardener and I am looking for a good cocktail tomato variety that is not a hybrid. I am also interested in starting to save seeds from my vegetables.

    I have read about saving seeds from plants that do well in my local conditions but I am confused about "cross pollinating". If a particular plant does well but it cross pollinates with other plants, what do the resulting seeds produce? A new plant that may or may not do well? Or a better plant that does do well?

    I apologize for my ignorance on all of this and I suppose that there is quite a bit to plant breeding so maybe if someone has some links to some good informational sites about all this I could read up a bit on it.

    Thanks
     
  2. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    If you want to save the seeds, look for "open pollinated" varieties. These have been selectively bred until the offspring nearly always comes true or very similar to the parent.
    Sometimes they can't get just the same results from selectively interbreeding, and they cross two distinct cultivars to get a unique hybrid, and perhaps whenever they cross these two particular distinct cultivars they can get a new hybrid (sometimes called an F1 cross) that only seems to be it's best when it has those two original parents... and may be weaker if it is backcrossed with itself or a close sibling (F2). So the hybrid, they claim, should only be used when you first get it from them and you would be wasting your time saving the seed because future generations will be weaker, so you should just buy more seed next year.

    Cross pollinating can happen accidentally. If you wish to save the seeds of two open-pollinated varieties, but grow them on the same plot, the bees can give you hybrids between the two instead of the two distinct open-pollinated cultivars you wanted.
     
  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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  4. gerryk

    gerryk Member

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    Thanks, that information helps me understand it a bit better.
     

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