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Topics - Andrew Barney

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Plant Breeding / Peas 2019
« on: 2019-06-02, 12:56:59 AM »
Fantastic year for peas this year! With all the rain I haven't had to really irrigate at all! Today first flowers have appeared. First on some in my elbow podded yellow podded row on a plant that appears to maybe have green (snap?) Pods. Perhaps a cross from last year? It has bicolor purple flowers.

Second that I noticed has flowered is 'Early Flowering' or 'Extra Early'. Can't remember what name it had,  but it does seem to have early flowers. Seems kinda short,  but not sure if it's a dwarf or not.

I didn't plant orange pod or mighty midget this year,  but I would expect them to have flowered by today as well.

Red podded should be soon to flower based on last year i expect as it was very early to flower as well. I guess we will see.

Plant Breeding / Pea Database Collaboration Project
« on: 2019-04-11, 10:13:41 PM »
For those of you who are somewhat technically savy, i started a Pea Database hosted on the OpenWetWare wiki. If you can learn how to use wiki software you are all free to create an account and help upload photos and other useful information on all known or new pea varieties.

Plant Breeding / Orange Cotyledon Peas
« on: 2019-04-11, 06:31:11 PM »
Is anyone interested in Peas that have orange cotyledons like red lentils? If so, i'm growing them again this year. There is some talk that they might be healthier and provide more beta carotine. But there is some debate whether the beta carotine provided can be used by the human body. Regardless though they seem pretty interesting. Well worth investigating or incorporating into a breeding project ;)

Plant Breeding / Potential for Open Source BT Eggplant
« on: 2019-01-03, 12:45:39 PM »
A new variety of engineered BT eggplant has no restrictions on saving seed or using in plant breeding and is currently considered an open pollinated variety. The potential to use this variety to breed and release an open source version should be possible.

I neither support or discourage anyone from this,  I just wanted to share the possibility. I am not philosophically opposed to bioengineered plants or foods, though i am often highly sceptical of each one individually. I try my best not to judge broadly. But I don't see any inherent mutually exclusive thing about open source and bioengineering.

I don't currently grow eggplant or plan to right now,  so I won't be growing this variety at this time. episode 166

166 – Two Critical Updates – Brinjals and Chestnuts

This week’s podcast features and update on two critical technologies– the Bt Brinjal (eggplant) in Bangladesh and the blight resistant American Chestnut. Both of these were covered in earlier episodes, and an update on...

I don't know if this really fits in the plant breeding section,  but there is no other section it seems to fit.

But I came up with a new idea I think I'm going to do. I'd like to make a pack of seeds of all the traits mendel worked with for people or kids or schools. They could plant all the traits side by side or even start learning about plant breeding with them by recreating mendel's crosses. It's pretty simple, but I think it will be cool.  I plan on making a simple pamphlet to go with it that explains a little on how to cross pea flowers and such. I plan on making the pamphlet open source or creative commons or something.

These are the varieties that I have that seem best for this.

Inflated pods = Large Podded (Carouby de Maussane , Bijou, and Green Beauty)
Constricted pods = Dwarf Gray Sugar (my selection)
Yellow Pods = Golden Sweet or a new yellow snow
White flowers = Virescens Mutante, Mummy White, Large Podded?
Extra Dwarf = Tom Thumb or Mighty Midget
Green seeds = Mighty Midget?
Wrinkled seeds = nap gene, midnight snow,  etc.

Bonus trait that might be fun = Parsley Pea

I just bought myself the second edition of Carol's book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties. I have an old,  but still useful copy of the first edition that was gifted to me by Joseph. If anyone wants it it can be gifted on. It still has some interesting notes by Joseph inside.

It sounds like there may be lots of people working with peas on here. I'm in an apartment right now so I don't have the time or space to grow as much as i want to. Is any one interested in growing out some pea stock to increase it and send some back? Preferably those who know they won't fail and have a high success with peas.

I'm curious about 'Outstanding' and/or ‘Outredgeous’ Red Romaine lettuce. Has anyone grown it? How has it done for you? What climate is it bred for? I'm interested in it because i like Romaine lettuce and i like red lettuce. I've just never grown either. Also i find it awesome that NASA has used it in experiments. I would be curious how NASA came to select that variety specifically. It must have done well for them to be featured in their photos. (

I think I'd like to get it to try,  but I'd like to hear from others who have grown it and/or from Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seeds directly.


I have a growing interest in growing Cacti and potentially breeding. With a particular interest in species or clades that could survive and thrive outdoors in my climate, however i'm open to cultivating a few indoors or in greenhouses too.

But in order to dive into what crosses might be compatible i would think knowing the ploidy count or chromosome numbers would help tremendously. In addition knowing which species are self-incompatible would help to know how to get them to fruit properly. If anyone knows of any resources or websites that list this information in an easy to access and understand format please let me know. Otherwise we can keep updating this thread with such information. This is the brief information i have compiled thus far.

Opuntia fragilis = hexaploid
O. macrorhiza = tetraploid
Opuntia humifusa Raf. s.l. = both diploids and tetraploids. (although diploid individuals have been discovered only in the southern portion of the range of the species and only tetraploids have been found in northern populations studied so far.)
O. polyacantha Haw. var. arenaria = diploid
O. polyacantha Haw. var. polyacantha = diploid

Echinopsis chamaecereus [formerly Chamaecereus silvestrii] is a diploid (2n = 22).
Interestingly, all E. chamaecereus plants in cultivation apparently have originated from vegetative propagation of one SI clone (Huxley et al. 1992; R. Kiesling personal communication).

The Cactaceae, a family of about 98 genera and 1500 species of succulent perennials, exhibits SI in all three of its subfamilies
(Pereskioideae, Opuntioideae, and Cactoideae) and at least 28 of its 98 genera (Boyle 1997).

Cactoideae is divided into nine tribes, eight of which contain SI species.
These studies show that SI is widespread in the Cactaceae.

Opuntia fragilis is the most cold tolerant and most northern of all cacti.
All twelve populations of O. fragilis analyzed were hexaploid.

Populations of O. humifusa s.l. and O. macrorhiza s.l. were all tetraploid, indicating that the northeastern-most range of those taxa is occupied by polyploid derivatives of their southern diploid relatives.

The O. polyacantha complex is most species rich in the southwestern United States, where the members of the group are thought to have originated (Pinkava 2002).

Diploid members of the complex (e.g., O. polyacantha Haw. var. arenaria and O. polyacantha Haw. var. polyacantha) are restricted to northern Chihuahua, Mexico, adjacent southwestern Texas, and the southern fourth of New Mexico.

While polyploid members of the clade are found mostly to
the north of those diploid populations
, as far north as
Canada for tetraploid O. polyacantha and hexaploid O.
(Bowden 1945; Parfitt 1991; Pinkava 2002).


  • Physiology and genetics of self-incompatibility
    in Echinopsis chamaecereus (Cactaceae)

    Chromosome Counts of Opuntia (Cactaceae), Prickly Pear Cacti, in The Midwestern United States and Environmental Factors Restricting the Distribution of Opuntia Fragilis

Plant Breeding / High Outcrossing Peas (Pisum Sativum)
« on: 2018-11-08, 08:03:57 PM »
At the request of Gilbert, and knowing there are others interested in this as well i have started this thread for those who wish to collaborate on searching for and breeding peas that have higher rates of outcrossing than traditional varieties. For those who are familiar with Landrace or evolutionary breeding techniques you will know that having a large amount of genetic diversity can be desirable, especially when trying to combat things like climate, diseases, pests, etc. Having good genetic diversity can allow for selection and adaption of both biotic and abiotic stresses.

Anyway, one idea is to use peas that have more open flowers. Traditional pea varieties seem to have a closed flower structure and a fused keel that makes it difficult for bees or other pollinators to even have access to pea pollen. Even varieties that have bright colored flowers will attract pollinators but often they then fly away. Some bees are known to bite into the flowers, but if the flowers were more open then higher outcrossing rates might occur. One downside is that these open flowers might be more vulnerable to dry conditions and may have decreased production. Still i think it is something worth working on anyway.

My interest first came from Joseph who a few years back had suggested an interest in true landrace peas.

I am told there is someone already working on this in secret and is close to releasing such a variety soon. That is all i know however. But i think i have two sources of germplasm that already may have high hopes for this project already. I will take a leap of faith that by sharing my ideas here openly that through collaborative plant breeding something really cool and useful may develop in this realm. I have found that by working together it is sometimes better than working alone and in secret. Sure one would like to keep things like this to themselves and say "look what i bred!", but some projects are worth setting aside ones pride for the greater good.

1. Okay, so the first line of germplasm i have been looking into is the NAP gene.

From what i gather this is a mutation that produces a few slight oddities, but nothing so terrible. The main side affect of this mutation that we are interested in is an open keel trait in most of the flowers (may be slightly environmentally affected), which obviously creates open access to pollen by bees. This variety has slightly elongated seedlings that look slightly odd and get rather tall very quickly, but not enough to cause anything serious. The seeds are sort of a mottled brown color with wrinkled seeds and is actually a decent snap pea too. I grew this variety last season and quite like it. I may have some seed i can share left and i have already shared some with a few people already. The NAP gene is recessive and on chromosome 1.

navicula apertus:
Petals of keel broader and wing-like. Separate or only partly united, the keel is more or less open with anthers and pistil clearly showing.

Here are a few photos of NAP gene flowers.

2. The next germplasm which sounds promising is the chochleata trait.

This one is also recessive and on chromosome 5. This one may also have open flowers. I have a few seeds from this one, not enough to share at this point, so i reccomend you request your own samples from JIC, or the various gene banks like USDA GRIN, gatersleben, or the nordic seedbank. I have not had the chance to grow and evaluate this one yet.

Abnormal flowers with high frequency of double keels, wings and standards. High frequency of double fused carpels in some backgrounds. Flowers open.

Seed Saving / Propagating Green Cacti Fruit
« on: 2018-11-06, 07:30:28 AM »
Not exactly seed saving,  but close enough i figure. Not exactly plant breeding on its own. Found this picture and idea in an old book recently and thought I'd share it.

I'm trying it out on one of those giant cactus fruits you can buy at the store now. Not sure what species as that affects ploidy number (a topic i will create soon). We will see if it works. If so, it could help get a jump start on starting from seed as this would grow faster. Cacti sure are interesting.

So, i had heard that they had discovered nitrogen fixing corn on another forum, but i hadn't really looked into it much. It sounded slightly intriguing, but not completely surprising, but then i forgot about it. Then i listened to this awesome podcast!

photo attribution: Aerial roots of corn from Sierra MixeALAN BENNETT / UC DAVIS

First off the podcast was amazing! Second i realized that i have already observed this in some of the corn i have grown before. And on a purple stalked corn. Since i mostly grow "unimproved" indian corn it makes sense that i would encounter it more than say highly modern corn bred for indiana with high chemical fertilizers and highly inbred and low genetic diversity. So it's possible i already still have it in my purple corn population. I see areal roots all the time and they look slightly odd. Some varieties have more, some longer roots, and some less or shorter. The ones that tend to have lots of nodes and areal roots are the taller ones from mexico or south america since more roots stick out of the ground, so it's more noticeable. I remember seeing it because one day i was wondering about if i could make my own rooting powder or gel for my hard to root wild tomato cuttings. That is when i thought about growing my corn and chopping off some of those roots. I remember seeing one with gooey gel around the roots, and the roots were purple. I only recall seeing the gel on one, but the fact that i remembered it makes it exciting.

I have a theory that it is more common that these scientists think it is, but would be more common to older corn strains, indian corn, mexican, and south american corn. I have not selected for aerial roots or against them, but i remember thinking once that maybe they would look better without them. I'm glad i didn't select against them now. I'm thinking we should all start selecting for higher rates of gel producing aerial roots. They would tend to be the stronger more healthier plants in an organic or low fertilizer system anyway and so might naturally produce more seed over time. It's possible i have inadvertently selecting for this trait without even knowing it, just by saving the best seed.

has anyone else seen this trait amongst their corn?! Anyone else want to start selecting or observing for it?!

Plant Breeding / Breeding for Blue Tomatoes that taste good
« on: 2018-10-24, 02:02:19 PM »

I am interested in blue tomatoes like a lot of people. I was given samples of OSU Blue P20 way back around 2008 or 2010 or something like that. And they were very interesting. That breeding line from Oregon State University eventually turned into what we know as today as 'Indigo Rose' and have spawned many breeding lines and projects (especially on tomato only forums). While the 'Indigo Rose' variety isn't terrible i think it can be greatly improved.

I've actually started growing LA1996 a pre-bred line which was used to breed 'Indigo Rose' and i find it to be excellent even just as it is! It does not have the recessive "atv" genes from Solanum cheesmaniae that help to combine and give a double dose of anthocyanin expression, but it does have the "Aft" gene for blue fruit. I have affectionately been calling this variety 'AFT' instead of LA1996. It is sort of odd in the fact that the blue fruit color is somewhat muted without the 'atv' genes. It sort of looks like a diseased red tomato with blue-ish spots on top. To a regular consumer this might present a problem as it makes the fruit look diseased when it is not. But i found them to be an excellent variety for my garden, with my soils and conditions and found it to thrive when so many other tomatoes just die here. Not only did it do well it was determinate and had a decent amount of mid-to-large sized red tomatoes. Productive in my environment and productive considering it is a short determinate plant. A winner on all fronts.

That doesn't mean i don't want to use it in breeding projects and see if i can improve it, because i do. One cross i want to do is with my favorite tasting variety 'Anasazi' which also does well in my environment and has dark brown tomatoes with the "green shoulders" gene that helps to contribute to it's good flavor. This variety is indeterminate and is very prone to cracking. A fusion between the two could produce something really worth while, if only to my tastes.

Plant Breeding / Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« on: 2018-10-24, 01:46:31 PM »
I wanted to share a really good paper i just read that i stumbled upon after finding a random plant breeding book on AbeBooks (Proceedings, International conference on plant breeding and hybridization, 1902,). The full PDF can be downloaded for free from (


In addition i also just found this ( that says:

Willet M. Hays was a great benefactor to plant breeding and the founder of the American Genetic Association (AGA). We commemorate the AGA's centennial. We mined university archives, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yearbooks, plant breeding textbooks, scientific periodicals, and descendants for information. Willet Hays first recognized the individual plant as the unit of selection and started systematic pure-line selection and progeny tests in 1888. He developed useful plant breeding methods. He selected superior flax (Linum usitatissimum L.), wheat (Triticum vulgare L.), corn (Zea mays L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and oat (Avena sativa L.) varieties, and discovered Grimm alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.); all became commercially important. He initiated branch stations for better performance testing. Willet Hays befriended colleagues in other universities, in federal stations, in a London conference, and in Europe. He gathered and spread the scientific plant breeding gospel. He also improved rural roads and initiated animal breeding records and agricultural economics records. He started the AGA in 1903, serving as secretary for 10 years. He became assistant secretary of agriculture in 1904. He introduced the project system for agricultural research. He authored or coauthored the Nelson Amendment, the Smith-Lever Act, the Smith-Hughes Act, and the protocol leading to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization—all involved teaching agricultural practices that improved the world.

At Minnesota, Hays established his reputation as a scientist and educator. In 1894 he wrote, “Not content with the best kind of corn, wheat, oats, barley, field peas, timothy, etc., which the world affords, we have well under way numerous new varieties produced by selection and by a combination of crossing and selection” (Anonymous 1928a). Against opposition, he established branch experiment stations to test plants under a wider range of environmental conditions. He started the first systematic pure-line selection—landrace breeding—and progeny tests of oats in the United States at the Minnesota experiment station in 1888 (Stanton 1936). From testing plants grown 30.5 cm (1 ft) apart each way he went to a centgener (his word signifying 100 offspring of a selected individual) system of 100 plants 10 cm (4 in.) apart planted by a machine he designed. He was listed among the first four pioneers in barley breeding and tested barleys of hybrid origin as early as 1904, but none attained release (Harlan and Martini 1936). His 1889 selections of timothy plants at the Minnesota station are the earliest records of timothy improvement (Evans 1937). He started flax selection improvement in 1894 and used the centgener method to develop Minn 25 (Primost), the first pure-line flax variety developed and distributed in the United States (Dillman 1936). Along with Primost flax, he developed Minn 169 Blue Stem wheat, Minn 13 and 23 corn, Minn 105 barley, and Minn 281 and 295 oat varieties. All became important commercially (Boss 1929).

Early in his attempts to develop plant breeding methods, Hays gained the cooperation of agronomists in neighboring states and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Seed stocks were exchanged and conferences were held. Hays often visited other state and federal experiment stations to benefit from exchanges with colleagues. He traveled extensively in the United States, went to London for the 1899 Hybridizer and Genetics Conference, and on to Europe, becoming acquainted with plant breeders and the experimental methods in use there (Boss 1929).

As early as 1891, Hays issued a certificate certifying that wheat seed was purchased from the experiment station. Farmers could use the certificate as proof of origin when offering seed for sale. He also used the system for several years for seed of corn, oat, grass, and barley, but discontinued it when he found that varietal purity was not being maintained. To address that problem, he and Coates P. Bull, a former student who became his coworker, called a meeting in 1903 to organize the Minnesota Field Crop Breeders Association (Bull 1905). It evolved into the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, which for many years was the highest-volume field crop certification agency in the United States.

So, um, yeah! Let's all start breeding for Intrinsic Qualities. ;)

Community & Forum Building / OSSI Lettuce used by NASA!!!
« on: 2018-10-19, 08:27:06 AM »
I guess we might need an announcements area. P.s. @Joseph Lofthouse is there a way to enable user tagging and embedded youtube videos?

 I just wanted to share this as it directly combines NASA with using an Open Source pledged variety.

Astronauts on the International Space Station grew and ate Outredgeous red romaine lettuce in the station’s “Veggie” system, a test kitchen for growing plants in space. (NASA)

Outredgeous is an open source variety of lettuce that was used by NASA in space. This variety of lettuce, or at least the offspring of that variety, now called ‘Outstanding’ is listed on the OSSI website as an open source pledged variety.

This is basically a copied post / thread from the MIT Open Ag forum:

Shoutout to the awesome team at OpenAg as well as our #nerdfarmer comrades at FarmBot 27.

Super cool video about how NASA is utilizing and working with open-source platforms to figure out how to grow food in space and eventually Mars.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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