Author Topic: Epigenetics  (Read 336 times)

Woody Gardener

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: 7
  • NW Arkansas, USA
    • View Profile
    • Email
  • Hardiness Zone: USDA 6b
« on: 2021-12-12, 10:53:05 AM »
Some members may recall the contrasts between Mendelian genetics and Lysenkoism from high school biology. Mendelian genetics were presented as scientifically proven and Lysenkoism as Soviet pseudo science.
Harper considered the inheritance of acquired characteristics as the defining feature of Lysenkoism, and referred to it as false science.1 Actually, the inheritance of acquired characters has been the subject of passionate debate and heated controversy since the days of Lamarck. Even Darwin accepted the Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics as an established fact, and had assumed that it was of importance in evolution.4 He considered natural selection, the inheritance of acquired characteristics and mutation as three factors influencing evolution. It is true that Lysenko was a keen supporter of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. He claimed that the environmentally induced changes were transmitted to the progeny by demonstration of the conversion of spring wheat into winter wheat and vice versa. In recent years, there has been a substantial body of reliable experimental evidence for the inheritance of acquired characteristics.4, 5 Lysenko’s work on the conversion of spring wheat into winter wheat can be explained by transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.6 Now it seems that Lysenko was not wrong in believing the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
The study of the inheritance of acquired characteristics is now a new area of scientific research and a friend's daughter recently got her PhD in epigenetics.

Epigenetic changes from environmental stress can be passed on to future generations. I'm saving seeds from 2 plants that suffered thru the terrible growing conditions this year and apparently adapted to those conditions.

I grew about a dozen Montana Mountain Morado corn plants this year and all but one were stunted and died early. That one plant produced an ear of kernels that fully matured and dried in 73 days from planting!

I planted about 20 Indigo Pear tomatoes this year and just as they were beginning to set fruit a fierce drought kicked in and stopped all growth. Most died quickly but a few lingered on for awhile. After a little rain one plant greened up, flowered and ripened a few tomatoes!

I saved every seed from those 2 plants and will see how they do next year.
I'm not interested in preserving heirlooms.
The best seed bank is the living seed bank which is growing every year in people's gardens.
Joseph Lofthouse


  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 893
  • Karma: 56
  • Narrow Ridge above the Ohio River zone 6a
    • View Profile
Re: Epigenetics
« Reply #1 on: 2021-12-12, 03:11:50 PM »
Late last summer I planted a variety of Brassica oleracea in effort to have it survive winter and make seed this past spring. I was pleasantly surprised that 75% or more did just that an produced an abundance of seed. After harvesting I cut the stalks back and planted cowpeas in the patch.

I discovered a few weeks ago that one of those b oleracea plants also survived and has nice new growth around the base of the old stalk. I am hopeful it will survive another winter and crosses up with next spring's crop. Living through the hot dry weather and the onslaught of cabbage worms makes it a particularly interesting plant.