Ask a Question forum: Do plant sports pass on mutation to offspring?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 17, 2017 12:26 AM CST
If a regular plant develops a color sport, that sport flowers, pollinates itself, and you harvest seeds, will the offspring inherit the color mutation?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 17, 2017 12:56 AM CST
You can develop a sport into a new plant by taking cuttings but even the sport cuttings will try to revert. Seeds are always pot luck so if that mutation is actually in the gene pool, you might end up with some plants exhibiting the characteristics of the mutation.

Let us know how it works.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
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keithp2012
Jan 17, 2017 1:17 AM CST
DaisyI said:You can develop a sport into a new plant by taking cuttings but even the sport cuttings will try to revert. Seeds are always pot luck so if that mutation is actually in the gene pool, you might end up with some plants exhibiting the characteristics of the mutation.

Let us know how it works.


I have a Milkweed plant, and a new sprout is growing on it, completely albino. It has flowers starting to grow. I'm hoping to get seeds and grow them.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 17, 2017 5:48 AM CST
The answer to your question is "not always."

"Sports" can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, various structural developmental problems (mostly microscopic), by genetic mutation, or by some combination thereof.

Albinism in particular would be deadly to milkweed--albino plants cannot produce their own chlorophyll so they cannot eat.

In fact, what most people call "albinism" in plants (and in sports) is not necessarily the same kind of albinism that we see in animals. Rather, it is a failure in making their own food which then in turn causes the lack of green color. In other words, the mutation is not one (solely) relating to color--it's an error in their chlorophyll-making abilities so the plant cannot feed itself.
Keep going!
[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Jan 17, 2017 5:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 17, 2017 11:45 AM CST
keithp2012 said:I have a Milkweed plant, and a new sprout is growing on it, completely albino. It has flowers starting to grow. I'm hoping to get seeds and grow them.


The best possible outcome is that the seed from the totally variegated shoot yields partially variegated offspring or chimeras. Total variegation (what you call albinism) is lethal to seedlings. The outcome is rapid and final, if that's how they end up.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 17, 2017 10:11 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:

The best possible outcome is that the seed from the totally variegated shoot yields partially variegated offspring or chimeras. Total variegation (what you call albinism) is lethal to seedlings. The outcome is rapid and final, if that's how they end up.


The sprout is coming from the green plant, so the albino part is growing and surviving. Hopefully the seed from it is variegated!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 17, 2017 11:04 PM CST
As I understand the situation, you have a plant with an albino shoot, and that shoot is connected to something green like the parent. Is that right? Then the albino shoot is completely dependent on the green part for its survival (energy capture, carbon fixation, growth). An albino seedling would not have that luxury. I have had totally variegated seedlings pop up and they look great until the seed leaves fail to photosynthesize, and then it's downhill fast from there. You could consider that phenotype a fatal birth defect if it's stable.

The inheritance of variegation is a complicated business. In part that is because the green you lose with variegation (albinism) typically is the pigment chlorophyll, which is concentrated in special intracellular compartments (chloroplasts). Which contain their own DNA and are inherited from one parent (could be either) or both, in often complicated and unpredictable ways.

Here is one example along those lines.

https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~m...

As a side note, the inheritance of mitochondria (a similar intracellular compartment) in humans is also maternal, meaning that the genetic makeup of the DNA inside those organelles comes from your mother (only). Little random factoid for you there.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 19, 2017 1:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 17, 2017 11:42 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:As I understand the situation, you have a plant with an albino shoot, and that shoot is connected to something green like the parent. Is that right? Then the albino shoot is completely dependent on the green part for its survival (energy capture, carbon fixation, growth). An albino seedling would not have that luxury. I have had totally variegated seedlings pop up and they look great until the seed leaves fail to photosynthesize, and then it's downhill fast from there. You could consider that phenotype a fatal birth defect if it's stable.

The inheritance of variegation is a complicated business. In part that is because the green you lose with variegation (albinism) typically is the pigment chlorophyll, which is concentrated in special intracellular compartments (chloroplasts). Which contain their own DNA and are inherited from one parent (could be either) or both, in often complicated and unpredictable ways.

Here is one example along those lines here.

https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~m...

As a side note, the inheritance of mitochondria (a similar intracellular compartment) in humans is also maternal, meaning that the genetic makeup of the DNA inside those organelles comes from your mother (only). Little random factoid for you there.


Thank you for that detailed info! If and when I get seeds and they sprout, I'll post the results!
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 25, 2017 5:59 PM CST
Here's a photo of the Milkweed.

Thumb of 2017-01-25/keithp2012/da76a9

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 25, 2017 9:16 PM CST
Looking at that photo, I have some concerns...

What I learned in biology, a really long time ago, is that when faced with an anomaly, you try your best to 'fix' it. You can't call any plant a mutation until you give it every advantage to make it be what it should be.

So... start with fertilizer. It looks nutrient deprived to me - first (and easiest) fix.

Give it more light. A plant that can't photosynthesize (because of lack of light) won't try. Those little photo-cells need some stimulation.

Let us know how it goes.


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 25, 2017 11:17 PM CST
DaisyI said:So... start with fertilizer. It looks nutrient deprived to me - first (and easiest) fix.


Unfortunately it is not so easy a fix with such plants. They have a low/absent amount of chlorophyll in the first place so they can't make some of their own nutrients to start with. They will be nutrient-deprived by definition no matter what, even if you put them in a "perfect" soil. Some nutrients are taken up in the soil but others are made or fixed in the leaves via photosynthesis.
Keep going!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2017 12:00 AM CST
I think Daisy's point is that it's unclear the shoot is variegated for genetic reasons, and quite likely the color simply reflects a nutritional deficiency. I agree and think it would be easy to test.

What nutrients are made or fixed in the leaves by photosynthesis, Jai?
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 26, 2017 12:03 AM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 26, 2017 2:03 AM CST
Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen are three which are required for photosynthesis to happen properly and are taken up by the leaves. In some genera the smaller micronutrients can then be taken foliarly only once photosynthesis has happened. I don't have my textbooks with me at the moment but you've made me curious now as to which specific ones. When I get back I will try to find it.
Keep going!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 26, 2017 11:03 AM CST
I've been doing some reading this morning. It seems common milkweed is very susceptible to chlorosis. It is caused by poorly draining soil resulting in an inability by the plant to utilized trace elements in the soil mostly iron and manganese.

That's where I would start - a repot with fresh, faster draining soil and a little fertilzer that has trace elements.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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[Last edited by DaisyI - Jan 26, 2017 11:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
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sooby
Jan 26, 2017 11:16 AM CST
I'm not convinced it is nutritional, but FWIW Daisy I think you meant to say manganese rather than magnesium. Magnesium is a secondary macronutrient (major nutrient), while manganese is a micronutrient (trace element). Often iron and manganese deficiencies are considered together as causes of chlorosis. Iron deficiency can progress to almost white but you'd expect a progression through interveinal chlorosis first (of the youngest leaves).
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 26, 2017 11:21 AM CST
Yes Sooby, thanks for the correction. It should be Manganese. Going back to edit.

But that's the reason for trying. Is it truly a mutant? Or an induced mutant? You really can't be sure until after exploring and attempting to fix all other possiblities.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
[Last edited by DaisyI - Jan 26, 2017 11:26 AM (+)]
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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Jan 26, 2017 11:23 AM CST
Based on previous discussions and his photos, I'm fairly certain that the milkweed being discussed here is the Asclepias curassavica 'Monarch Promise' that Keith purchased this year. It is variegated variety. Variegated plants often produce all-white branches so I doubt it's a nutritional issue.

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2017 1:44 PM CST
Thank you, Danita.

It would have been nice to know this detail about the plant at the start of the thread, Keith. It explains a lot about the plant's behavior. We could have avoided some tangents.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 26, 2017 1:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 26, 2017 9:56 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Thank you, Danita.

It would have been nice to know this detail about the plant at the start of the thread, Keith. It explains a lot about the plant's behavior. We could have avoided some tangents.


Normal conversation is not linear, succinct, and curt. Tangents can be a healthy part of a complete breakfast.
Keep going!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2017 10:23 PM CST
As witnesses will attest, I am the first to dive off on barely related topics. Smiling

My point is this: you have to ask the right question to get the right answer. Given the name of the forum, and in the spirit of the forum. I'm not trying to control the conversation or tell anybody what to do, I'm trying to help Keith. Please excuse me if I have been rude. The intention is to make connections and to get the questions answered. Group hug

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