Plant Grafting for improved characteristics

Shullsburg, WI(Zone 5a)

1. Grafting of different trees has been going on for many years to provide various improvements in fruit, etc. However, I have never found anything relating to the possible carryover effect in the seeds.

2. I see that grafting of vegetables is finally becoming a little more common in the U.S (has been in Europe for some time!). The Territorial Seed company is offering root stock for tomatoes even.

3. Since this grafting results in a change to the fruit/vegetable, one would think that would also result in some carryover into the seeds. Especially since it would otherways be difficult to see if there were new changes as a result of crossbreeding.

4. Question: Does anyone know if this is actually be the case?

5. Grafting of vegetables looks to have lots of promise and is open for experimentation by the average gardener!

6. Can anyone explain in "laymens" terms how this effect takes place? I see that three part grafting has even been done with trees;ie, root stock, trunk stock, and top branches. One might think it has something to do with DNA changes but there might be other things to think about too.



Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

In most cases, grafting is performed to provide benefit to the plant that it would not have on its own. For example, with fruit trees, a variety is grafted onto a 'dwarfing' rootstock to reduce the size of the plant (Red Delicious on EMLA 9 rootstock trees are about 10 foot tall when full grown, compared to 25+ for the same variety on a non-dwarfing rootstock). While there is some discussion on whether some genetic exchange is taking place (viral transposition or chimeric cells at the site of grafting for example), for the most part there is no genetic changes to the material. If you take a branch off the dwarfed Red Delicious and root it, the resulting tree would grow full size.

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