F1 seeds

Discussion in 'Propagation This Month' started by Steve R, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Steve R

    Steve R Soil Furtler

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    This is a little bit of a mystery to me, I hope someone can help me understand.

    As I understand it now, F1 seeds are the premier seeds bred for desiese resistance of some form, or its super duper florific qualities. But I have also read or heard that seeds collected from plants, grown from F1 seeds might not grow true, so how can this be? How do these seed distributers obtain F1 seeds if they might now grow true?

    Regards

    Steve...:)
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    I'm a bit limited on the laws of heredity, but this is how I see it.

    F1 means that the seed is hand pollinated, with a known parent, ie the female plant and the male plant are both of know types, a kind of thoroughbred

    If you then grow those plants and they are open pollinated with who knows what, you end up with a mongrel.
    But a lot of F1 plants are actually sterile, so cant produce seed anyway.
     
  3. Steve R

    Steve R Soil Furtler

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    Thanks Pete.

    How about an F1 tomato...such as Sungold, would that yield suitable seed or be another "mongrel"?

    Steve...:)
     
  4. theplantman

    theplantman Gardener

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    it would be another mongrol.. If Iunderstand it right parent plants are bred or stabilized so that when the (hand polllinated) cross between the two parents is made the F1 seeds are all uniform displaying the desired traits. So sungold Toms are made every year from the same stabilised parents. However the plants grown from the resulting f1 seeds could not be crossed to garauntee another identical plant as they are not as stable as the the original parents.

    The breeding of the parents involves selecting dominanat traits< I seem to rember it not being too difficult to grasp unfortunatly thats all I remember)

    This is from my pretty shaky understanding its something I must read up on....heres a wiki link (i dint find it hugely helpful)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F1_hybrid
     
  5. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    Would also add that I have growm toms, in particular, along with sweet peppers from supermarket fruit,
    and I cant see any difference, between my fruit and the ones I bought.
    Probably because the parent furit was self pollinated.

    I think genetics , (if thats the right name), is full of surprises, and even the experts dont always get it right, it takes years sometimes to come up with a new variety.

    When you actually think about it, every seed grown plant is a potential "new variety", it contains different genes from the two parents.
    F1, is a way of cutting out most diversity and creating a seed of almost know performance.

    Not in the same way as a cutting but the closest you can get from seed.
     
  6. seedstotal

    seedstotal Gardener

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    With time some hybrids can become quite stable ie they will be the same for some time, but not for many generations as a heirloom variety. And uniformity can be a problem even in the second generation, however the taste or the apparence of the fruit is going to be very similar or the same as the first generation. With the supermarket varieties it is the uniformity, shelf-life and transportation abilities what the producers are going for. So the second generation is never going to perform as good as the first on all desired qualities. If you can gain seeds from the fruits you grown, then you will be able to have a decent F2 generation in the second year. The plants and the fruits will be slightly different from the 'original' F1 parents, but should satisfy a gardener who grows food for his/her own consumption.
    So the OP you should go ahead with the sungold seeds if you have some, and let us know how it went, in august when the fruits are ready :).
     
  7. PeterS

    PeterS Total Gardener

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    To confuse you more may I suggest you consider two pure bred lines of sweet pea - a red one and a blue one. I say sweet pea because all the first work was done on them, and their colour is controlled by only one gene.

    Each plant carries two copies of every gene. One is received from the mother (in humans it comes from the egg) and the other copy comes from the father (the male sperm). Plants get their genes in a very similar way. The red plant will have two identical copies of the colour gene - RR. To ensure that both copies are the same the line must be very pure bred. The second plant (also pure bred) will have two identical blue genes bb.

    The two plants are then cross fertilised. Which, as Pete says, may have to be by hand to ensure that red only crosses with blue and they never fertilise a plant of their own colour. The first generation of children are called F1 (Filial 1). As the F1 child gets one gene from each parent, each F1 plants genes will be Rb, ie R from one parent and b from the other parent. So every F1 plant will be identical.

    When you have two different colour genes, one colour is always dominant. In this case I have made R dominant and have given it a capital letter and the other gene b is in small letters as it is recessive (ie always gives way to the dominant gene). So all our F1 plants will be red.

    If the identical F1 plants breed with each other, they will produce the next generation - F2. Each parent had identical genes Rb and the offspring will get one at random from each parent. But now four possible combinations exist RR, Rb, bR, and bb. Three of these will have red flowers as they have the dominant red gene, but the fourth plant will be blue, as it will have no red gene. What gave it away to Mendel, who did the first work was this constant 3: 1 ratio in the F2 community.

    This principle is repeated across all the different genes that plants have. And hopefully illustrates why F1 plants are all identical but F2 and later plants are not.

    The other aspect is that pure bred plants are frankly in-bred. When they cross, you get new blood and extra vigour. Have you ever seen a Ligre (a lion tiger cross) on television. The resulting cross I saw was massive, at least 50% larger than either of its parents.

    How this applies in practice to plants - I don't know. I sometimes think F1 is an overused word that simply means its more expensive.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Dave W

      Dave W Total Gardener

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      Tiger-Lion cross (Ligre or Tigon) are the same as an ass, horse-donkey cross, and sterile as far as I've understood.
      The one certainty about F1 (apart from extra cost) is that you know pretty well what you'll get. Which isn't to say that it's going to taste or look any better than a non-F1.
       
    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      That's a very good way to think of F1 Peter. It's a bit like pedigree dogs - they have low life expectancy and lots of inbreed problems, if two pedigree breeds mate the resultant mongrel will usually be much stronger and live longer

      F1 plant parent stocks have to be carefully maintained and are often 'low vigour', in themselves quite useless as a crop. The growers then hand pollinate to get the F1 seed in the next season - thats why they are more expensive.
       
    • Lovage

      Lovage Gardener

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      F1 Hybrids are bred for vigour and uniformity
      Whilst uniformity may be very useful for a commercial grower - enabling him to harvest the whole crop at the same time - I would suggest that most people growing for their own use would much prefer a crop to be spread over a longer period

      For flowers I also prefer the more natural look with variations of height and flower colour - others may prefer the absolute uniformity for that 'parks department' look
       
    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      Lovage; I agree with you about harvesting times - as a grow you own fan I don't want that either, but I think that applies mainly to brassicas (cabbages etc). I always use F1 cucumber seed though, it's the only way I know of guaranteeing non-bitter fruit and good yields (and like F1 tomatoes they crop throughout the season not all at once).
       
    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      All the above are good explanations of the whys and wherefores of F1 hybrids. Having said that, there are a number of factors to take into account as to whether you wish to use the seed produced from last year's crop.

      What type of plant is it?
      This is more important in some plants as John has said in reference to cucumbers. I have found something similar with stringless runner beans which normally manage to remain stringless in the second year but can be quite variable after that.

      Do you want or need uniformity? - Self-explanatory.

      How much do you need to grow and how much can you afford?
      These two questions are often interelated as F1's are proportionately much more expensive.

      Do you want a new type of plant? - As advertised with some F1 hybrids.

      Do you want to try and get something that may be different but entirely random? - Which is what you may get with keeping your own seed.

      Steve, with regard to tomatoes, we have found that they tend to be pretty close to true for a few generations. If you get your allotment it would be interesting to try one half of the allotment with F1's and the other half with collected seed. In successive years you can try 3rd or 4th generation as well. Comment for when you open your garden:- The veggie plants that we sell for our charity are always F1 unless otherwise stated as people that buy (if they are keen gardeners) seem to expect it.
       
    • Steve R

      Steve R Soil Furtler

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      Thank you all...I feel very much informed on the subject now and understand it better.

      Steve...:)
       
    • theplantman

      theplantman Gardener

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      Interesting thanks....with regarde to the sungold though if you were growing other varieties with them..wouldnt there be a chance the seeds would be crosses..therefore leading to lots of variation (ok for some that may be exiting) but thats whats always put me off....(i could be way off as I said above itds a subject I ough to now more about)
       
    • andrewh

      andrewh Gardener

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      F1 seeds are the first generation seeds from a cross-breed specially chosen by breeders for certain characteristics.

      For example they might cross a heavy cropping tomato with a really tasty one. The first generation (F1) after that will be a tasty heavy cropper, and that's the seed you buy in the shop.

      If you then take seed from that plant, though, the dominant genes from the parents start coming through. So you might get a more heavy cropper, but it's starting to lose it's tastiness. And so on with subsequent generations.

      Also, some F1 plants are so heavily bred that the seed is sterile and won't germinate at all.
       
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