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Messages - Ryan M Miller

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Plant Breeding / Re: OSSI Industrial Hemp
« on: 2021-10-12, 11:13:29 AM »
I have some good news. It looks like hemp plants have separate male and female flowers and the plants are usually dioecious (on separate plants). This makes cross-pollination much easier than if the plants had small hermaphroditic flowers the size of carrot flowers. Here is a PDF I found on hemp flower anatomy:

Ideally, I'd prefer to breed a strain of hemp that is fit for fiber and paper production in case CBD products fall out of favor.

Plant Breeding / Re: OSSI Industrial Hemp
« on: 2021-10-11, 08:23:43 PM »
Sorry to resurrect this old thread:

I have also been keeping my eye on industrial hemp legislation in my home state of Ohio since it looks like a promising cash crop to supplement income from a market garden business. I was hoping there would be more members here with experience breeding low-THC industrial hemp.

Hopefully, the wind-pollinated flowers are easy to emasculate like sorghum or maize. I'll see what information I can find on hemp breeding.

Grains / Re: Black oats ID help?
« on: 2021-03-25, 10:36:13 AM »
I don't know what kind of oat that is, but it's definitely not ergot infected, otherwise it would have a puffy appearance.

Grains / Re: Northern rice varieties
« on: 2021-03-25, 10:34:47 AM »
I'm also curious about northern-adapted rice since my region of Ohio often has watterlogged soils for a good portion of the year. Planting northern-adapted rice, sedge, and taro would be easier than attempting to drain the soil artificially. Unfortunately, I have been having a hard time finding rice accessions from the Amur river valley or Mongolia when using the ARS USDA germplasm bank. Are there other seed sources people are using to get rice accessions from these regions?

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2021-03-14, 06:35:37 PM »
Based on a few journal articles, it seems that the vetch species that are most genetically similar to fava beans (Vicia faba) are the specis in the V. peregrina complex. This includes at least Vicia peregrina, Vicia michauxii, and Vicia aintabensis. These species have 14 chromosomes per cell rather than 12 chromosomes per cell as in fava beans. Nevertheless, the chromosome number may not entirely be a barrier to cross-breeding. Here are the links to the journal articles I found:

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2021-03-11, 07:21:02 PM »
Vicia pannonica and Vicia sativa ssp nigra have the same chromosome count as fava beans. If I were attempting this sort of project, I'd start with those species. The other Vicia species that I checked have different chromosome numbers than fava, which makes crossing much more difficult.

At my place, fava beans are about 30% outcrossing. Because of that, they have retained a lot of diversity.

Bean poisons are easy to taste. I haven't been selecting against poisonous beans, because the low level toxins in the varieties that I eat regularly are minimized by soaking, sprouting, and cooking at high temperatures.

A few other species of vetch that share the 2n=12 chromosome number of Vicia faba besides Vicia sativa and Vicia pannonica are V. angustifolia, V. dalmatica, V. macrocarpa, and V. hyrcanica. Some of these species are not available through the USDA germplasm seed bank (Vicia angustifolia and Vicia macrocarpa), so any plant breeder would have to look elsewhere for seed from these species.

Another thing to keep in mind when making interspecies crosses with fava beans is that chromosome number does not necessarily prevent interfertility; for example, przewalski horses (Equus ferus przewalskii) have 26 chromosomes per cell while domesticated horses (Equus ferus caballus) have 24 chromosomes per cell. Nevertheless, Przewalski horses are still interfertile with domesticated horses and are fully capable of producing fertile offspring. I'm assuming a similar interfertility phenomenon might occur between different species of vetch when performing interspecies cross-pollinations.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2021-03-11, 06:49:21 PM »
Various types of favas.
By the way, where did you find the round, dark-colored fava beans? They look like they belong to the paucijuga group of fava cultivars.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2021-03-11, 05:25:30 PM »
One possible route I have been considering in breeding fava beans is crossing them with other species of vetch to introduce improved frost hardiness, disease resistance, and possibly perennial plant development. Because the crop wild relative of fava beans has not yet been discovered or may potentially be extinct, it appears that the best method of introducing new genetics into fava beans may be from interspecific crosses with other vetch species. Joseph Lofthouse has successfully used the interspecific cross-pollination method to introduce self-incompatibility, increased flower size, and improved flavor in his promiscuously pollinating tomato project, so I wouldn't be surprised if some similar approach were also possible with fava beans.

Grains / Re: Naked Barley!
« on: 2020-12-14, 02:48:05 PM »
I am currently attempting to grow the plant, little barley (Hordeum pusillum) as part of a larger project to grow out the lost crops of the Eastern Agricultural Complex of North America. One issue I'm currently facing with this plant is the way the chaff encloses the seeds. The outer husk clings so tightly to the seeds that it is impossible to completely free the seed from the chaff without specialized dehulling equipment. The chaff adheres even more tightly than the husk surrounding einkorn wheat grains.

This plant would definitely benefit from the existence of naked cultivars found in common barley. If anyone growing this lost crop finds such a trait in the plant, please let me know.

Grains / Re: Perennial Foxtail Millet (Setaria parviflora)
« on: 2020-12-14, 02:01:14 PM »
Millets in general seem to have been abandoned when alternatives came along since they are rich in antinutrients. The goitrogens that mess up your thyroid system are especially problematic.
I was unaware of the presence of antinutrients in millets. Is this true of all genera called millets or only for foxtail millet Setaria italica? I would live to see some journal articles analyzing the antinutrients in foxtail millet.

Theoretically, it should be possible to develop varieties of foxtail millet with lower antinutrient levels through selective breeding. For the infamous grass pea (Lathyrus sativus), there is a related ongoing breeding project to develop varieties of this plant with lower or nonexistant levels of ODAP and BAPN to reduce the risk of lathyrism in regular consumers of these peas. Perhaps such techniques being used in the breeding project for lathyrus peas could be adapted for foxtail millet species at the same time while developing perennial cultivars of this crop.

Grains / Perennial Foxtail Millet (Setaria parviflora)
« on: 2020-12-13, 08:20:44 PM »
I have been spending some time reading about the wild relatives of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) since grasses in the Setaria genus seem to be the most common edible weedy grains in my region next to Lamb's Quarters. Most species in this genus seem to be alien annual weeds that are not native to North America with a few exceptions. There are about half a dozen perennial species of foxtail grass native to the southwestern United States, but the species Setaria parviflora seems to be the only perennial species of foxtail grass native to the eastern and central United States.

Based on a journal article by Daniel F. Austin (2006) ( there is a possibility that Setaria parviflora was at one time domesticated in mesoamerica before the widespread cultivation of maize. If this foxtail grass has a high potential for domestication, then it could be used to develop a perennial variety of foxtail millet that does not need to be replanted every season.

Grains / Re: Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)
« on: 2020-11-15, 08:55:49 PM »
Given the fact that domesticated barley (Hordeum vulgare) is diploid unlike modern bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) which is hexaploid, I would also much rather prefer to work with barley rather than wheat. As far as I know, the wild grains I'm interested in domesticating using the methods employed by the Land Institute are diploid. This includes little barley (Hordeum pusillum), and maygrass (Phalaris caroliniana). Based on what little I know about genetics, it seems to be easier to breed diploid plants than polyploid plants

By the way, I found another article documenting the methods used by the Land Institute in developing intermediate wheatgrass as a perennial grain. The journal article mentions something called "genomic selection", but I will need to look into the term further to understand what it means or if I need formal training in genetics to understand how to use it. Thankfully, I plan on enrolling in a genetics program at my local community college this Spring.

Grains / Re: Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)
« on: 2020-11-14, 10:45:58 AM »
I found another article documenting the processes used in selection for intermediate wheatgrass grain:
The processes described in this article do not include direct gene manipulation. I'm hoping I can figure out how to adapt these methods for other promising wild cereal grains.

Grains / Re: Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)
« on: 2020-11-11, 06:41:45 PM »
Whatever techniques were used to accelerate the domestication of intermediate wheatgrass, I'm hoping I can apply them to other promising wild grains. I sure hope William Schlegel was right in assuming that no direct gene editing was used in the domestication programs.

Grains / Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)
« on: 2020-11-10, 12:52:41 PM »
A while ago, I read an article on the domestication of intermediate wheatgrass Thinopyrum intermedium for use as a perennial grain crop. Given the fact that the project started in the 1980s and that this plant now has domesticated strains with reduced seed shattering and increased grain size, I've been suspicious that CRISPR technology may have been used. I found one article documenting a few details of the process here: ( If anybody has any further information on this project, please let me know. I'm hoping that if the domestication process was done without direct gene editing that it could be replicated for other plants, especially other perennial grains.

Note: The parties involved in the domestication project for intermediate wheatgrass seem to have either pattented their strain or applied for PVP under the brand name Kernza. If their procedure does not use CRISPR, then I would prefer if the resulting cultivars from a newly domesticated plant were not pattented to avoid monopolies on the supply of that plant or legal disputes from accidental cross-pollinations.

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