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Tomatoes: potato AND regular leaf from same seeds?

 
steward
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I grew a new heritage variety last season, and have grown a lot of seedlings from seed I saved.
Thing is, they were potato leafed plants, and the majority of the seedlings are 'regular leaf'.
I'm very careful about labelling/not mixing up my seed, but I'm thinking this must have happened somehow.
I plan to sell most of the plants, so they need to be what I say they are!

I'll try and talk to someone in the 'real word' tomorrow;
but I thought I'd ask if anyone on permies knows if it's possible for a single variety to produce both potato and regular leaf plants?
I can't find anything online, which may of course be a bit of a clue...
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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This is fairly common with tomatoes bred for the recessive trait.

If a breeder is breeding for the dominant traits, the breed can become relatively stable by F-4, or 5.
However, when you are breeding for the recessive trait, even with F-8 or higher, the dominant trait can overshadow the recessive trait.

There might also be the possibility of cross pollinating last year with some regular leaved plants in the vicinity.


 
Leila Rich
steward
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John Polk wrote:This is fairly common with tomatoes bred for the recessive trait.


This is definitely an open pollinated variety, so hybrid stuff shouldn't be the problem, right?

John Polk wrote:There might also be the possibility of cross pollinating last year with some regular leaved plants in the vicinity.


Maybe, I suppose
I've never cross pollinated a tomato before, but there's always a first time...
Does that mean the potato leafed seedlings could also have traits from the regular leafed parent,
or maybe the potato leaf seedlings will be 'true'?
If so, then at least I could sell some.
If I managed to mix up the seed, I can safely assume the potato leafed plants are what I think they are,
but if it's cross pollination, I guess I can't sell them. Damn!
 
John Polk
steward
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This is definitely an open pollinated variety, so hybrid stuff shouldn't be the problem, right?


Not necessarily so. Most tomato breeds are the work of either a breeder, or Mother Nature.

Breeders often try to find the best qualities of several breeds, and then try to merge them all into one super tomato.
Most of the heirloom tomatoes are the results of cross breeding for specific traits.

An F-1 hybrid will not breed true, but if the breeder selects from only those plants which have the traits he was seeking, and then grows out a second crop (F-2) the next season, he should have a higher percentage of tomatoes with the desired traits. I have heard some breeders claim a fairly stable variety in as little as F4/F5, but those were usually cases where the desired traits were already the dominant gene.

When you are aiming for the recessive trait, it will take more generations to get a stable variety. If you are trying to get 2 or 3 recessive traits bred into a variety, it could take quite a few years to find stability in any quantity.

Many of the breeders here in the States live in the southern states, which allows them to grow 2 crops in a single year. This allows them to reach F-8 within 4 years vs. 8 years.

Perhaps the tomatoes you grew are open pollinated, but are not yet stable. If it's cross pollination, it could have been from the source of your original seeds.



 
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I have had this happen twice. I'm pretty sure that one instance was from the first cause below, and one was the second.

Potato-leafed tomatoes are less self-pollinating than regular-leafed types. They are more likely to have their female parts unshielded by the flower's anatomy and thus be more accessible to pollinating insects. Also, bumble bees will often chew through the flower to get at pollen, which defeats the self-pollinating structure. So cross-pollination is a possibility that you may need to consider.

Also, I have seen this happen with seed that is old or for some other reason of lower germination. I was told by an geneticist that it is not uncommon for normally-unexpressed traits to appear as the seed's structure starts to degrade.

I have also seen seed get physically mixed inadvertently--either by seeds sticking to the inside of the fermentation bucket or by later problems in packaging. I myself had a mix-up while drying the seed, when wind came up late in the drying process, when the seed was pretty light.

You would have to grow out a bunch of the plants in order to see what you've got, but its hard to imagine any scenario in which the seed would be salable at this point, except as one ingredient in a grab-bag mix. Some people like to buy a mixed-seed packet, either as a springboard to their own breeding and selection efforts, or as a cheap way to get a lot of variety in their garden.

It would be interesting to hear more if you grow the seedlings out and look at the fruit.
 
steward
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It is perfectly possible, in older heirloom varieties for both potato-leaved and regular-leaved to be present in a variety. And for it to be a pure variety, even with both leaf types being present. Perhaps the variety was selected for the shape and color of the fruit, without regard to leaf shape. 50-100 years ago, people didn't esteem stability and uniformity as the ideal way to grow tomatoes.

My purpose in life, is to convince people that they shouldn't be keeping tomatoes pure and inbred.


 
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