Thread: hybrid seeds
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Old June 14, 2009   #5
feldon30's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rock Hill, SC
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Originally Posted by tjg911 View Post
other than sun gold i don't grow hybrid tomatoes because there are just too many great tomatoes i have found and yet to be found by me that are op. that said i'm curious about hybrid seeds.

we know that hybrid tomato seeds will not reliability produce the same hybrid tomato they came from. but i suspect there is 1 or 2 generations that do. since i don't understand genetics, please speak to a lay person.

so we take tomatoes a and b (i have read there may be several parents involved in a hybrid not just 2 parents) and produce tomato seeds for sale to the public. so when you cross tomato a flowers with tomato b pollen you grow tomatoes and let's call the seeds in those tomatoes generation I.

it seems that they have to grow generation I seeds to ensure that the tomato is what they want, if i buy sun gold or jet star i do not want sweet 100 or big mama. so they grow generation I, it's what they want and then they harvest the seeds so that is generation II. we buy generation II and grow our hybrid tomatoes.
Sorry, this is not correct.

If I grow Tomato Variety A and Tomato Variety B, and transfer the pollen from a flower on Variety A to a flower on Variety B, then the resulting tomato seeds inside the tomato that develops will be an F1 (1st filial generation) hybrid of A + B.

I can process those A+B seeds, dry them, package them, and sell them to people as an F1 hybrid. Every year, as long as A and B don't change, I will get the exact same F1 result.

Now, if you as the consumer grow your Jet Star or Sweet Quartz F1 seeds and then decide to save seeds out of the resulting fruit, well that's the 2nd filial generation or F2 seeds.

This is where things get interesting. Now, you are going to get a genetic jumble, a mixture of the traits of the two original A and B parents. No two plants will be identical. You'll get different fruit sizes and shapes, colors, plant types, different foliage types, etc. Some plants will be healthier than others. Some will have good tasting tomatoes, some awful. And few will be 100% identical to the F1 (A+B) hybrid. Some folks say you can get about 95% of the way there depending on the parents.

The entire post below has been proven to NOT be true:
You asked about Sun Gold. The reason I kept it until the end is because it is not a simple A + B hybrid. With Jet Star, every year they cross two simple parents -- Variety A and Variety B which are both stable (open-pollinated). Sun Gold is not like that. To discuss this further will involve some guesswork as seed companies will not tell us their secrets otherwise we could just grow it ourselves.

First, we know that somewhere in Sun Gold's past, there is L pimpinellifolium which is the wild currant species of tomato. We know this because it's the only way to get those flat, ladder-like trusses of cherry tomatoes. Also, the foliage of the Sun Gold plants has an unusual aroma which is common to L.pimp.

Second, when folks have tried to grow Sun Gold F2, they have gotten HUGE variations. Red and orange tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, flavors, etc. What this tells us is that it is likely that Sun Gold has 4 or more parents.

Now wait a minute how does a tomato have more than 2 parents?

The answer is that Sun Gold seeds probably take 2 years to produce. Let's say this year I grow Sungold Parents A, B, C, and D. I have folks out there hand-pollinating A to B, and C to D. So now I've got A+B and C+D. Two hybrids. Next year I will grow those two hybrids and have workers hand-pollinate AB hybrid with CD hybrid and I get F1 seeds which are essentially ABCD. Those seeds which are a hybrid of two hybrids are then sold as Sun Gold F1.

As you can imagine, it is not only expensive and time-consuming to grow seeds year-after-year for varieties with more complicated parentage than A + B, but it's also expensive and time-consuming to develop them. You develop a variety and you have to wait 3 years to taste it.
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