First off, sorry for not being around lately, other responsibilities have been taking precedence. And yes UKC, I spell checked the big post [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img] LOL
YAH! SERIOUSLY! If you don't want to believe me that’s fine, but please hear me out on this. In theory, it is totally possible to cross a VFT and a Sundew to produce offspring that is not only viable but also able to reproduce!
Now normally this is impossible, the two species would probably have different chromosome #'s and even if you did get a sundew species with the same # of chromosomes as a VFT, the two sets wouldn't recognize each other during meiosis (assuming you even had a living hybrid from the original cross which is unlikely because the DNA is SO different it would be more like having an incomplete set of chromosomes, or a haploid cell after the gametes combined)
BUT! If non-disjunction occurred in both the parent gametes(aka the sperm and the egg when they where first formed) the cross would produce a 4n cell. Because the parent data from each original donor is so different from the other plant, it functions as though a single set from each parent is one very large set. This makes the offspring an effective instant 2n containing double the chromosomes of either parent. No only does the double set from each parent make the fertilized egg viable (now has full data set) it also lets the plant that grows from this produce its own offspring because chromosomes can recognize a partner and pair off successfully.
This viable hybrid would not be able to cross back to parent pants (without some other mishap) and would effectively become its own brand new species! How cool is that?! The new species would be of the type called an Allopolyploid (or to be precise, an Allotetraploid in this example).
So why hasn't it happened? Probably in part do to the low sexual reproductive rate of VFT and their extremely limited range. It's also a rare event for the events to coincide, but it DOES happen in nature! In fact, many scientists feel most of our crop plants came from humans stumbling on the individual lone freaks and propagating them. One of the classic recorded cases is Salt Marsh Grass. About 100 years ago, a new super large robust grass showed up in Europe. The native species had 60 chromosomes... oddly enough, the American species had 62 and this sudden new species, It had 162! Cha-ching natural Allopolyploid! Of course, humans can speed this up in the lab using chemicals to prevent non-disjunction, but it's not always an artificial process.
As CP people you're also probably aware of the Sundew's habit of doubling its chromosomes and then self pollinating. That how we get a lot of our funky species. This is basically the same thing but involves one plant's disjunction fertilizing another plant's disjunction (it's more common for sundew to produce 3n "sterol" hybrids and then pollinate themselves and occasionally make a 4n (normal fertile) and 5n"steriol" in our collections). I live in MI which is a hot spot for this event in round-leaf, long-leaf and spatulata sundew's doing this (an article in the CP journal is about this).
Okay, okay, so you’re thinking that Darcie is just spouting off without knowing all the facts and she is getting too much out of her genetics’ lecture and somewhere she is messed up and so this is wrong. HA HA! I may be a slow learner, but I DO learn. I spent some time going over the concepts with my Genetics’ professor (who is like a genetic engineering god, she is sooo awesome and know like practically EVERYTHING![img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img], and I was very careful to include all the details about the distant relationship and ect ect. Well, her conclusion is that their is no foreseeable reason why, if this where to be done, the resulting gamete would be not able to grow into a viable plant (that sentence is confusing, she said yes it could happen). Pretty darn awesome isn't it? Apparently it has to do with plant's extremely high tolerance for chromosomal accumulation and assimilation. As long as two plants are not extremely different in morphology (aka monocot and dicots) they can be crossed. Weird hun?
Obviously, the chance of doing this without lab chemical work is very small. I would imagine one would have to obtain a first generation 4n plant of each species and cross them in the hopes of the 2n from each entering the new cell where close enough to recognize each other still.
Anyhow, I thought I'd share this most interesting bit of data and also ask: Has anyone tried this yet?!
Thoughts, comments, ideas... it's so cool I'd love to have a conversation on it [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]