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Tomatoes: Anyone Dehybridizing?

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Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 11, 2006
5:55 PM

Post #2712653

I've seen threads here and there on certain dehybridizing projects, but I'd like to see what everyone's doing and their progress all in one place. Any takers? I'd also like to hear suggestions for hybrids that would be good candidates for future projects.

I got to thinking about it when I was at a local market that had a display of heirlooms, complete with very good descriptions, and one variety called 'Goliath" looked too big, smooth and beautiful to be true. It was described as "a favorite here, second only to Brandywine", so of course I bought some for seeds. Imagine my disappointment when I looked it up...HYBRID! Suppliers and reviewers raved about the flavor and yield, so the more I read about it, the more it started sounding like a good candidate for dehybridization.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 12, 2006
1:16 AM

Post #2714006

With my limited physical condition I can no longer dehybridize hybrids, but if I were to do it I'd go primarily for those hybrids that were done in the 50's and 60's where F1 seeds are available.

I've already dehybridized Ramapo F1 and if I could I'd dehybridize the Harris varieties Supersonic and Jet Star b'c I think they might be the next ones to go and both are terrific tasting hybrids.

Carolyn
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 12, 2006
2:22 AM

Post #2714297

Those were two I was thinking of. They're still around? When I was working at a nursery about 25 years ago, they were our customer's favorites... I think they were fairly new at the time... at least one of them was; that much time makes things a little fuzzy, but I think we grew them from seed we got from Ball Seed Company.
JefeQuicktech
Moorhead, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 12, 2006
4:42 PM

Post #2715895

If Goliath could be dehyb'd, that would be great. It is a fantastic tomato. I grow it every year even though it isn't an OP. Every year it is the best producer of those "picture-perfect" looking tomatoes. It is ideal for people that just can't handle ridges, bumps, odd shapes, and different colors. It is a great canning tomato too. Soooo, if you ever get that one dehyb'd, I'll be first in line to buy seeds.
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 12, 2006
5:21 PM

Post #2716012

So many projects, so little time... I already have a full time job! Looks like I'll have a busy retirement.
LooneyLinda
Mantua, UT
(Zone 4b)

September 12, 2006
6:03 PM

Post #2716129

I have seen a couple of tomatoes that are called Goliath. One is from Totally Tomatoes and they say it is their "exclusive" tomato. They have Original Goliath, Old-Fashioned Goliath, Early Goliath and Italian Goliath. I planted both Early and Original and I thought they were one step above a grocery store tomato--but wonderfully blemish free. I know I have seen a Goliath advertised at another seed store, so is it different from the TT Goliaths?

Which Goliath are you wanting to de-hybridize?

Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

September 12, 2006
6:08 PM

Post #2716138

This is grade-school stuff to you folks here, but I didn't know anything about dehybridizing so did a little research on the Internet.

Wow, that's a tough project. As I understand it, if a hybrid has only two parent strains (which isn't usually the case), there's still a High and Low propensity for each single characteristic (such as productivity).

That is, if you plant Hybrid seeds, you'll get various plants with HH, Hl, hL, and LL dominant genes for productivity, size, flavor, color, disease resistance, and who-knows what else. THEN, you have to raise the plants with HH combinations for desirable characteristics and ll combinations for undesirable characteristics for about six more generations to get those traits to breed true in an OP plant. And that's just going from the simplest two-parent hybrid.

Is that about right? What a job.
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 12, 2006
9:05 PM

Post #2716605

I haven't seen the H and L analogy before, but without getting into ratios and all, that's about it. It's a numbers game where you hope to find the winning combinations. That's why the seed company where I worked would shoot for around 200 seedlings (or at least as many as space and budget would allow) from our competitors' best hybrids to see what they were up to and try to capture some of the better traits they were working with. Some were winners, some were losers and others were absolutely awful (described as "dogs" or "like sucking on a brass doorknob").The competition didn't seem to mind though; they were doing the same with ours ;-)

Unless you're under the gun to get a specific type of plant from the original hybrid, it can be a fascinating project. Gardeners and farmers used to make crosses and select them out with nothing to go on but a good eye and their tastebuds. If it grew well, looked good and tasted great, they saved the seeds and selected their favorites the next year, and the next, and the next... Even if you try to grow just a few plants from a hybrid, sometimes you get lucky, especially if the parents were good.

Edited for bad spelling...

This message was edited Sep 19, 2006 9:20 AM
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

September 12, 2006
9:40 PM

Post #2716690

That's interesting. Fascinating, really. I can see how you'd have to work with a large number of plants to select for the characteristics you want.

I let a volunteer tomato grow in my garden this year. It looked healthy in the spring, and I'm pretty sure it was an accidental Celebrity/Brandywine cross because it came up where I'd grown those two plants side by side the previous year.

It was indeterminate with potato type leaves like a Brandywine, but the tomatoes were smaller, round, and red like Celebrity. I thought I was onto something until it turned out the plant was a very poor producer and more disease-prone than any other tomato variety in my garden this year. It was one of those "brass doorknobs" you mention, and I think it would take a great many volunteer plants before it would be likely a good new variety would arise.
LooneyLinda
Mantua, UT
(Zone 4b)

September 12, 2006
10:47 PM

Post #2716886

My mother used to say that some things tasted "like a kiss through the window." Many of my tomatoes this year have been like that--a little flat and tasteless.

If I had to deal with the H's and the L's of de-hybridizing I would never try it, but I might try a shot in the dark version. In fact I guess I started it this year. I loved the grape tomatoes we bought from Costco, called Nature Sweets. Last year they were called Santa Sweets. I don't know if they are the same or not. I saved and fermented the seeds and the tomatoes they produced tasted just like the originals. I only planted one plant for myself and gave several away. I think I will continue with seeds from this year.

BTW, I was looking on Solana Seeds and they say they have a de-hybridized Sun Gold.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 13, 2006
12:58 AM

Post #2717285

BTW, I was looking on Solana Seeds and they say they have a de-hybridized Sun Gold.


There are two dehybridized Sungold F1's, both done by Reinhard Kraft in Germany and both have beenoffered commercially here in the US.

The first one is called Sungold Select and most who have grown it don't feel it's up to par with the F1, and some are getting plants with red fruits as well, so it obviously isn't completely dehybridized.

The second one, Sungold Select II is much better and folks say it[s very close to the F1 Sungold.

Most folks who try to dehybridize Sungols F1 give up b'c they can't get rid of red fruited plants. All cherries with flat truss traits have a red currant tomato in their genetic background to bring in that trait.

I cannot recommend Solana Seeds as a place to buy tomato seed.

Carolyn
GrammysGardenAZ
Cochise, AZ
(Zone 8b)

September 13, 2006
1:20 AM

Post #2717346

Carolyn, Thank you!!
tropicalaria
Tri-Cities, WA
(Zone 7b)

September 13, 2006
8:18 AM

Post #2718182

I already have a thread here somewhere, but I guess I'll jump in on this thread since the invitation seems to be open. Next year I'll be doing a large grow-out and attempting to directly compare

Sungold Hybrid
Sungold -- several of my own F4 selections
Sungold Select
Sungold Select II
Sungold Select x unknown -- 3 F4 selections from two F3 selections last year

I will be growing out a large number (30-50) of the F4s looking for those that compare favorably with Sungold Hybrid, and noting the stability of the unknown cross, which I expect to be easier to stabilize than the direct decendent of Sungold. This will be the first time I've compared my selections directly to the Sungold Select versions. If I personally don't find anything at this stage that I like better than the three established varieties, I'll probably not continue with these lines.

Along the way I've learned a lot. This has just been a fun, side project for me and I haven't spent a lot of time on it. I really should have kept better records from the start. Carolyn's advice on these boards has been invaluable (and I appreciate the help locating the Select lines). I have a couple lines that came out of this that aren't much like Sungold, but which I've kept for their own attributes. And so far, my favorite, most Sungold-like variety is derived from the unknown cross which cropped up in some seed I got from someone else. The direct descendents of the Sungold Hybrid have been quite varied, and some of them have been truly detestable-!

I don't plan to use the name Sungold in anything I do end up with. I think I've drifted far enough from the original fruit that it would be a bit misleading, and confusing as well, considering the other dehybridizing efforts with this variety. I'm dehybridizing in the sense that I'm working toward an OP from a hybrid, but I'm selecting for the attributes that I like, and, of course, suitability for my growing conditions. I'm not nearly experienced enough to even notice all of the subtleties that are not being maintained along the way. All of the lines I'm currently working with have larger fruit. Yield is good on everything I've selected. Flavor is fruity, sweet, and strong, IMHO. One of them has itty-bitty seeds in all of the fruit. We'll see if that carries into the next generation.

It still feels like I'm at the beginning of this project.
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 13, 2006
1:12 PM

Post #2718562

Tropicalaria, if you're conscientious at all, you'll always feel that way! it's sort of like an artist who feels like the painting he sold could have been better with a splash here or a detail there. Keep us posted on your progress... sounds like a well thought out project.

I've always been confused by reds popping up from orange hybrids. Isn't red dominant over yellow and orange? If the gene for it is present, I would have thought it would be expressed in the F1. Maybe someone will have to go back and cross with a yellow currant, unless it carries an unexpressed gene for red as well. I'll look into Sun Gold II and order seeds.

Shoe, Danny, Big-Red; you out there? How are the Johnny's 361s going?
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/499675
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/569667


This message was edited Sep 13, 2006 9:34 AM
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 13, 2006
2:24 PM

Post #2718753

(I've always been confused by reds popping up from orange hybrids. Isn't red dominant over yellow and orange? If the gene for it is present, I would have thought it would be expressed in the F1.)

Yes, red is dominant to orange but when you dehybridize the genes segregate and you can end up with different combos of genes for a particular trait that expresses a phenotype that is different from that which was seen in the hybrid.

Just one simple example. And that's the variety we now know as OTV Brandywine.

The F1 from a natural cross was a large red PL beefsteak and one parent was known to be Yellow Brandywine.

When I dehybridized it, in the F2 and F3 I saw RL pinks and RL yellows and the PL large red I was after. And pink and yellow are both recessive to red. And it could work just as well if there was a yellow F1 and red showed up in the growouts, depending on what genes the other parent brought to the hybrid.

Actually I've seen it happen with the variety Green Gage which is a small yellow. And it was a spontaneous mutation that is called a somatic mutation where the mutation occurrs in the cell of the growing plant, not in the DNA of seed. Usually one fruit or one branch is involved and in this case it was one branch where all the fruits were red whereas the rest were the expected yellow color.

Now this is due to mutation, not to gene segregation, but it does show that sometimes there are events that can seriously alter phenotype.

OTV Brandywine was pretty much stable as a large PL red at the F4 but I carried it out one more generation to be sure. And of all those who have grown OTV Brandywine nothing other than the large red PL has appeared as long as there were no spontaneous mutations or natural crosses.

So I don't think you should be surprised at a red showing up from an orange hybrid depending on the genes that were brought in to from the hybrid. I could look up the genetics as to which genes are involved, as in the orange, red, yellow, colors but you know what? I don't wanna. LOL

Carolyn
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 13, 2006
3:32 PM

Post #2718977

Me neither! I'll just have to accept it.
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 18, 2006
3:00 PM

Post #2735355

Good news about Supersonic and Jet Star for the time being. I sent this inquiry to Harris Seeds...

Are there any plans to eventually phase out your tomato hybrids Jet Star and Supersonic? I've seen some great old hybrids disappear from the market lately and will probably stock up on them before they disappear as well.

Their reply...

Thank you for your inquiry. These items are still very important to us and we have no plans to phase them out at this time.

Sincerely,
Mark Willis
Vegetable Seed Manager
Harris Seeds
585-935-7016
mwillis@harrisseeds.com

Edited to add the signature.


This message was edited Sep 18, 2006 11:02 AM
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 18, 2006
4:57 PM

Post #2735799

Thank you for your inquiry. These items are still very important to us and we have no plans to phase them out at this time.

Sincerely,
Mark Willis
Vegetable Seed Manager


Keith, Mark WIllis is the person I've talked with over a many year period of time.

First about how I could go about recreating the variety Star Pak, almost my fave of the Harris varieties until they pulled that one.

Then it was when they started introducing a few heirloom tomatoes with, to me, controversial blurbs.

Then it was about Ramapo F1 and it was thru Mark that I made my contacts at Rutgers where Ramapo F1 was bred.

And one time failry recently we also talked about Supersonic and Jet Star and he told me then that of all the Harris bred varieties he thought those two plus Moreton Hybrid were the BEST tasting ones ever, to date.

So it doesn't surprise me that they are not in jeopardy, but Moreton Hybrid went two years ago and they don't do the seed production on any of them, and, and, I still think it would be worthwhile for someone to dehybridize all three, that is Moreton Hybrid, Supersonic and Jet Star.

There's simply no telling what the future might bring that would be totally out of the hands of Mark and the current Harris Co.

Carolyn
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

September 18, 2006
5:26 PM

Post #2735952

That does it! :>)

Keith if you want to get some seeds I'll go in with you on the project!

Thanks for the input, Carolyn.

Shoe.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 18, 2006
8:53 PM

Post #2736562

Thanks for the input, Carolyn.


No problem Shoe and since Moreton Hybrid is not being sold I do have a few F1 seeds around that you and Keith could use, at least I'm pretty sure I do. The two others are available at lots of places. But you certainly don't want to deal with all three at the same time re F2, etc., growouts.

And I've been meaning to ask you how those 3 varieties I sent you have done. If you get a chance could you update me a bit, but using my AOL e-mail address which you already have. Thanks so much.

Carolyn
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2006
1:49 AM

Post #2737472

Shoe, I have the same "that tears it" (okay, it's a little more emphatic) attititude. On Friday (next paycheck), I'm ordering 500 seeds of each and half are yours. I.ve had good success from old seeds, so we'll keep a little "ark" of good genes in store for the future, eh?
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

September 19, 2006
2:16 AM

Post #2737560

Thanks, Carolyn...would love some of the F1 Moreton seeds.

And don't worry about the others you sent me...although this was a terrible tomato year for me I have the seeds drying as we speak (just not as many as I'd hoped for!) Will be in touch via email soon.

Keith, 500 seeds will be more than enough for us! But yes, I understand the need for a special "seed bank" just in case something happens! Thanks for including me. I"ll be sure to reimburse you!

Shoe.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 19, 2006
3:45 AM

Post #2737897

Thanks, Carolyn...would love some of the F1 Moreton seeds.

Shoe, please remind me in the late Fall early winter b'c I'm NOT going out to that seed area in the back room now. LOL

All you really need is one F1 plant, as you know, to get the F2 seed and I think these seeds I have were purchased in Spring 2004. So should be no problem with germination.

Carolyn
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2006
1:31 PM

Post #2738618

Carolyn, I'm not familiar with Moreton. What's it like?

Shoe, that's plenty of seeds alright, but when the price for that many is just over $8, I figured it would be worth it. At least we won't be worried about running out too soon if anybody needs them in the future.

Terrible tomato year? Mine was great until 6 inches of rain hit one weekend in early August and split all the fruit to pieces. The only word to describe the aftermath was "carnage"; what a mess! At least I was able to save a decent amount of seeds before disaster struck. Did you grow the Johnny's 361s this year?
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2006
3:11 PM

Post #2738971

Here's an interesting "dehybridizing" anecdote from my mom's garden this year. She's 86, but still starts her own seeds and grows a few tomatoes in her flower bed. She knew she might get an oddball, but wanted to see what would happen when she planted seeds from one of the cluster tomatoes she bought at Bi-Lo. What she got was one we called "the torpedo".

It was a very short determinate with such a concentrated set of fruit that it looked like a green and red chandelier. The fruit were long and pointed, and the flesh was hard and almost crunchy. There wasn't any gel inside and hardly any seeds. If it had any flavor at all, it could have been a great high-solids type that you wouldn't have to boil down at all for sauces, but I think a raw potato would have been more appetizing.

It's an interesting example of what you can get from a hybrid. It wasn't anything like the juicy, round greenhouse tomato that the seed came from.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

September 19, 2006
4:41 PM

Post #2739250

Carolyn, I'm not familiar with Moreton. What's it like?


Of the three, Moreton, Supersonic and Jet Star, Moreton Hybrid was the first one hybridized. It's red, about the same size as Supersonic, both larger than Jet Star, and has that wonderful taste I like in all three.

Is the taste the same? I think there are some subtle differences.

And all three are huge producers of mostly blemish free fruits.

Carolyn
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 19, 2006
5:26 PM

Post #2739367

Sounds good! Shoe, if you ever get the space and the time, I'm willing to grow out some Moreton F2s. I'll order the seeds, but dehybridizing Supersonic and Jet Star can wait until later.
Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


September 26, 2006
11:37 PM

Post #2761551

Agrinerd,

Sorry I didn't respond sooner but I just ran across this thread. Yes, I'm still trying to dehybridize those Johnny's 361 tomatoes.

2004 was a complete waste for me garden-wise so I didn't get any F3 seeds until this year. It's really hard to choose between plants when you're trying to select tomatoes like ones produced on the parent plant.

Most of my 25 plants were not nearly as productive as the original F1, but had nearly the same size and shape fruit. Only one plant showed production like the original but the fruit was a little smaller, had the same lush, vigorous growth habit with good tasting fruits. I used this plant to save my F3 seeds from.

For some reason, I didn't take any pictures of the ripe fruit but here's a one taken in mid July that shows loads of blossoms and fruit set.

Thumbnail by Big_Red
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


September 26, 2006
11:44 PM

Post #2761575

Just to give you an idea of what some of the others looked like and the difference in growth habits, here's a pic of 3 other plants taken the same day.

Thumbnail by Big_Red
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 27, 2006
3:03 PM

Post #2763174

Cool. How's the flavor?
Big_Red
Bethelridge, KY
(Zone 6a)


September 29, 2006
1:26 AM

Post #2768308

Just the way I like them, a little on the acid side, great taste!
Agrinerd
Franklin, NC
(Zone 6b)

September 29, 2006
7:20 PM

Post #2770492

Great! You ain't got a thing if they aint got that ZING!
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

October 24, 2006
10:31 AM

Post #2845096

Fascinating!!! I struggle just to get my basic production and ya'll are changing the world!!! (Supersonic was the first tomato I ever grew! Guess I can place the OSeedD blame on them!)

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