Author Topic: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities  (Read 399 times)

Andrew Barney

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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 archive.org (https://archive.org/details/proceedingsinter00interich/page/n7).

BREEDING FOR INTRINSIC QUALITIES by Willet M. Hays in 1902.

In addition i also just found this (https://academic.oup.com/jhered/article/94/6/435/2187470) that says:

Quote
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.

Quote
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. ;)

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #1 on: 2018-11-22, 09:56:23 PM »
 How would you best describe' systematic pure-line selection'? i see in those quotes Andrew that the word landrace was used alongside systematic pure-line selection, pure line sounds doesn't sound landrace like.

rowan

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #2 on: 2018-11-22, 11:05:19 PM »
That was a definition of 'landrace' before a couple of people changed the definition in the last decade. Landrace used to be a variety that was selected for a particular climate or situation, but it was still that variety. For example the Large white pig is still a Large White pig but around the world it is known as Australia Large White landrace, or Estonian Large White landrace, or British Large White landrace. It looks the same but is regionally adapted to produce better under more humid conditions in this country, or colder conditions in that country etc.
Same for plants, a Black Russian tomato landrace still looked, tasted and grew the same but was adapted to different growing conditions in different areas.

The term landrace was usurped by a few people who decided that a mix of anything could now use that term.
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Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #3 on: 2018-11-22, 11:16:38 PM »
My wife works on a pig farm and they just refer to them a 'landrace'

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #4 on: 2018-11-23, 12:21:40 AM »
I love the role that I played in introducing an expanded definition of landrace to the world. English is a dynamic and fluid language: Ever changing. There is no grammar board enforcing traditional usage patterns. If a single person advocates for expanding a definition, and if the advocacy is influential enough, then definitions get modified in general usage. It's astonishing how much influence a single person, or a small group can have. It's incredible that a poor nobody Podunk subsistence farmer from a tiny rural village, far removed from London,  could have a global influence on how English is used.

I'm pretty sure that the conservative/traditional definition of landrace is gone forever. That milk has long since been spilled, never to return in pristine condition to the glass.

Toward An Evolved Concept Of Landrace. Front Plant Sci. 2017; 8: 145.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-23, 09:21:48 AM by Joseph Lofthouse »

Andrew Barney

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #5 on: 2018-11-23, 09:23:52 AM »
How would you best describe' systematic pure-line selection'? i see in those quotes Andrew that the word landrace was used alongside systematic pure-line selection, pure line sounds doesn't sound landrace like.

Probably systematic inbreeding and selection for particular traits. Hard to get in the mind of someone from a whole another era.

Yes that was the old landrace definition about a hundred years ago. It is still acceptable i suppose but modern usages of the word landrace as used in recent scientific literature are more appropriate and useful these days. They can cover both plants and animals and include wider genetic diversity than before. You probably could still say "landrace variety" and still mean non-variable for whatever trait is most important that it not change but be variable in others and still be a good compromise of both definitions and usages.

But i didn't post the talk above to discuss landrace usage. I thought the paper had lots of interesting things if a bit dated.

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #6 on: 2018-11-23, 11:52:18 AM »
I thought the paper had lots of interesting things if a bit dated.

What did you find interesting? Why? How do you expect to apply it's concepts in your future breeding endeavors?

Andrew Barney

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #7 on: 2018-11-29, 07:59:16 PM »
What did you find interesting? Why? How do you expect to apply it's concepts in your future breeding endeavors?

Good question. Although the paper is a bit dated and seems to talk a lot of isolation and inbreeding from what it sounds like, there are parts that sound like good things to keep in mind. I will try to quote some of the better parts of it if i can. Having said that though, i must admit i'm not exactly sure what "intrinsic" means in this concept or what the author actually meant at the time. Or what constitutes as an intrinsic quality, i really have no idea. Which makes the topic of this thread a bit ironic i suppose.

Quote
The first operation is securing the best foundation stocks, whether
utilizing varieties at hand known to be superior, or by accession from
the outside, securing others and testing them beside known standard
sorts. We should always place much effort on securing the best possible
start. Of the possible final improvements more than half is ofttimes
secured by a wise choice of foundation stocks. Not infrequently ultimate
failure is met because of a hasty and ill advised start.
This selection of
original varieties should be from among as large numbers as practicable
,
and with a broad knowledge of the correlated qualities required to make
up the largest unit of economic and artistic values in the desired line.

I have found this to be more than true. Starting with good genetics seems to me to the THE most important step above all others.

Quote
experience has proven that the union
of certain blood lines often results in an unusual proportion of superior
progeny
; and in animal breeding certain out-crosses have so often proved
superior that they have gained popularity. But for the most part crosses
must be made between those varieties which most nearly approach the
desired ideal, and which will supplement each other; and then the chances
must be taken of securing occasionally superior parent plants and
effective blood lines. True, in some cases, we can gradually introduce a
small proportion of the attenuated blood of some form strong in a needed
characteristic, but undesirable in others. Thus the thirty-second part of
the blood of a hardy native crab might be utilized to make a hardier form
of apple for the far Northwest. Since hybrids may combine their
innumerable characteristics in such a multitude of forms it is not
strange that we find it necessary to seek from among tens and hundreds of
thousands that one individual or small group of plants which shall
possess the desired correlation of qualities.
If all the words of a
dictionary were on slips of paper and placed indiscriminately in a pile,
we could be certain of securing a given word only by looking over the
whole pile. The combinations possible in hybrid individuals between two
species or varieties are vastly more numerous than the number of words it
is possible to make by combining the twenty-six letters of our alphabet;
and where the blood of three or more species is intermingled the
complexity is made still greater. We must expect to select from among
large numbers.


Hmm. I guess there wasn't as much good info in that paper as i originally thought. Guess i mostly just wanted to share a good paper / speech from a successful plant breeder of old. Still, there were a few kernels of value in there. Mostly that one should use a large genetic base to start with and select from there. And that it is easy to do a cross, the hard part is sticking with it to select the best combinations from the F2 and later generations without selecting the poor combinations we will also likely get. Basically it is a statistics or numbers game. And patience and observations are often the best tools we have. I guess that's what i got out of it.

Doro

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #8 on: 2018-11-30, 03:10:24 AM »
I'm not the fastest reader and still enjoy reading through it lol I'm done next month maybe.
But what jumped to my eye right away is the love to detail and all the time that went into the layout and writing. It is nice to just look at it. While modern publications focus on transporting pure information, old publications often transport an extra dimension which is hard to explain. The information it it may be old news for us today, but I enjoy reading the excitement and spirit of discovery between the lines.
What I also found interesting is the parts about Mendel and how the term 'sport' had a different meaning.
It's a reminder that very change takes its time. ~50 years after Mendels experiments there was still a phase of getting used to the idea and figuring out how to apply it to breeding.
I'm still using the term 'sport' in the old UK way. Not sure how that comes, either I read too much outdated literature or my old biology teacher was still stuck in a long gone era.
I'm not sure if I understand the meaning of the word Intrinsic. My spontaneous feeling is that it is along the lines of deep rooted, innate, built in? No idea if I'm on the right track there.

Carol Deppe

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #9 on: 2018-12-01, 07:53:49 PM »

Hmm. I guess there wasn't as much good info in that paper as i originally thought. Guess i mostly just wanted to share a good paper / speech from a successful plant breeder of old. Still, there were a few kernels of value in there. Mostly that one should use a large genetic base to start with and select from there. And that it is easy to do a cross, the hard part is sticking with it to select the best combinations from the F2 and later generations without selecting the poor combinations we will also likely get. Basically it is a statistics or numbers game. And patience and observations are often the best tools we have. I guess that's what i got out of it.
These are good points even today. However, you don't need and often shouldn't try for as large a genetic base as possible. Not every project is best served by starting a landrace, for example. However, you are usually best served by being familiar with as broad a genetic base as possible so that, for example, where you start a project by doing a cross of two varieties, it is the best two available for the purpose. And it pays to try different combinations and approaches.

For example, I often start a project by making a number of crosses using different combinations of two parents. Then self all the F1s. Then after I have examined and eaten the F1s, I decide which F2 to go on with.

It also often really matters which individual plants of a variety are in a cross. For example, when breeding Candystick delicata winter squash, the goal was a bigger delicata with thicker flesh. I love delicatas, but none of them were much above 1.5 lbs. and the flesh is only about half an inch thick. I had to open, clean, and cook about four to make a Carol-sized serving. I needed either a bigger fruit or a fruit with thicker flesh, or both. I had tried crosses of delicatas to other types and been unable to recover delicata flavor and texture. So I decided to try crosses among delicata varieties.

Nate France and I intended all possible pair-wise crosses among four different delicatas, but only three germinated. So we got these F1s:
Sugar Loaf--Hessel x Cornell Bush
Sugar Loaf--Hessel x Honey Boat
Honey Boat x Cornell Bush

We not only tried three different approaches, we made a number of crosses of each type using different individual parent plants, carefully recording the pollen as well as female parent. Then we very carefully recorded and evaluated each plant with respect to fruit size, flavor, flesh thickness, flesh texture, etc.

The next year we grew out the best F1 from each of the three types of crosses. That is, the F1 of the best Sugar Loaf and the best Cornell Bush, the F1 of the best Sugar Loaf and the best Honey Boat, etc. There is often enough genetic variability in op varieties so when you are making a cross, it can make a huge difference whether you are using one of the better or one of the worst individual plants of the variety.  And with squash, you can't tell the best fruits until you have eaten them. So we grew several plants of each variety, made lots of crosses, then after the fact evaluated plants and fruits so that each cross we kept was of parents that were among the best for the variety. There was a good bit of variability for flesh thickness in all three varieties. The Sugar Loaf--Hessel and Honeyboat were uniform for flavor and texture. The Cornell Bush was variable for flavor and texture too, with perhaps one in ten being as good as a SL or HB and the rest being decidedly inferior in flavor and texture to those, many bad enough that I discarded rather than ate. (Cornell Bush, when first released, was excellent. It got screwed up and deteriorated in commercial production. It may have been restarted from breeders seed since. So don't take this as an evaluation of what is available commercially now.)

I was expecting the best cross to be the Sugar Loaf--Hessel x Cornell Bush. There was much more genetic distance between these. The two tan delicata varieties, SL and HB, had both been bred by Jim Baggett from a single tan-fruited plant that turned up in his delicata field. I expected greater plant vigor, yield, and hopefully fruit size and flesh thickness from the cross of Sugar Loaf Hessel x Cornell Bush. I included the other crosses because I knew that plants, like plant breeders, tend to be an unruly lot. Plants can have their own ideas about things. And these plants did. It was the F1 between Sugar Loaf--Hessel and Honeyboat that had the biggest fruits and thickest flesh. In addition, the fruits had a distinctive intense flavor unlike anything in the parents or any other squash I had ever tasted, a flavor a lot more like a Medjool date than a squash. I fell in love with that flavor. So I cheerfully abandoned the other two crosses and went ahead with the cross that tasted like I had crossed a delicata to a Medjool date tree. It was mass selecting from that F1 for fruit size, thickness, and flavor that resulted in Candystick delicata.

Candystick has fruits up to 3 pounds and flesh thickness up to a little over an inch. So you can get about four to six times as much food from a fruit of Candystick as from any other delicata. Now it only takes me one squash to make a serving, not four. And every fruit tastes like a cross between a delicata squash and a date tree.

I have no idea where that flavor came from. The plant thought it up. They can be clever that way.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-01, 08:14:39 PM by Carol Deppe »

Walt

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #10 on: 2019-04-11, 08:50:15 PM »
Good question. Although the paper is a bit dated and seems to talk a lot of isolation and inbreeding from what it sounds like, there are parts that sound like good things to keep in mind. I will try to quote some of the better parts of it if i can. Having said that though, i must admit i'm not exactly sure what "intrinsic" means in this concept or what the author actually meant at the time. Or what constitutes as an intrinsic quality, i really have no idea. Which makes the topic of this thread a bit ironic i suppose.

I have found this to be more than true. Starting with good genetics seems to me to the THE most important step above all others.

Hmm. I guess there wasn't as much good info in that paper as i originally thought. Guess i mostly just wanted to share a good paper / speech from a successful plant breeder of old. Still, there were a few kernels of value in there. Mostly that one should use a large genetic base to start with and select from there. And that it is easy to do a cross, the hard part is sticking with it to select the best combinations from the F2 and later generations without selecting the poor combinations we will also likely get. Basically it is a statistics or numbers game. And patience and observations are often the best tools we have. I guess that's what i got out of it.


I can say how landrace breeding, as the term is now used, and inbreeding go together in barley breeding.  And the method goes back to the 1930s I think, and it is still in use, I am pretty sure.
Intercrosses were made by hand, in all combinations, between as many as 16 good varieties.  Equal numbers of seeds from each cross were mixed and grown together.  Natural selection increased yield about 5% per year, same as intensive human selection by guys with Ph.Ds.  Embarressing, but the data was clear.  After some years, many better looking heads from better looking plants were selected and seed from each selected plant were grown seperately.  All but the best of the resulting families were discarded.  The better families were grown in replicated trials for a few years in several locations.  The best family from these trials was released as a named variety.  It's yield would be better than the landrace was at the time the origional selections were made.  Of course, years had passed while the selected families were being compared and the best multiplied for release as a named variety. so the landrace, or population as it was called then, had continued to improve.  So another bunch of better looking plants were again selected from the landrace, and the whole process of making another inbred variety was gone through.
So why didn't the barley breeders just pass out the landrace seed and let farmers grow it.  The landrace, under natural selection, matured later than farmers wanted.  It wasn't uniform in ripening date nor hight.  Part of the selection process included selection for immunity to disease and insects
It wasn't until much later that it was learned that the landrace maintained long term resistance to diseases and insects, while the varieties derived from the landrace didn't always.
Last I knew, CIMMYT was doing the landraces of barley, wheat, and triticale, except they were giving out landrace seed.  But generally, breeders who recieve the seed select better plants and varieties are often developed by mixing seed from several superior plants in a given location.  And some inbreeding results. 
In the 1980s, some barley breeders started the "Paul Bunyan Barlet Breeding Project".  I doubt it was often published under that name.  Paul Bunyan was a mythical giant lumber jack who could cut 40 acres of forest per day.   But the project was to intercross the whole USDA barley collection using a male sterile gene linked to a gene for shrunken (but viable) seeds.   Seed was made available in 2 kilogram lots, free of charge.

Walt

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Re: Breeding for Intrinsic Qualities
« Reply #11 on: 2019-04-14, 01:00:08 PM »
I googled paul bunyan barlet breeding.  It came up.  1962, earlier than I remembered.
https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs/abstracts/2/4/CS0020040347?access=0&view=pdf

And 1952
http://www.miscugli.it/public/componenti/725/files/Suneson_1956%20(SC%202306).pdf

And undated
http://washingtoncrop.com/documents/Archives-Barley/Harland.pdf   
The name Harland is for Dr Harold Harland, who first used this breeding method in Barley.  He was once introdused for a speech as the first barley breeder to use replicated trials in barley breeding.  In response, he said he wasn't proud of being the first barley breeder to use replicated trials.  He was proud to have been the first barley breeder to STOP using replicated trails.