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Invigoration of Potatoes by Cross-Breeding

Nature volume 31, pages 246247 | Download Citation



SOME interesting experiments on the potato were tried at Reading last summer. Most persons are aware that changes which are called “improvements” from a commercial point of view have been effected among the plants of the farm and garden in recent years by a “hybridising,” and that the usual result of hybridising plants is to invigorate them. Mr. Darwin explains the law which horticulturists avail themselves of in the improvement of plants when he says, “All forces throughout Nature tend towards an equilibrium, and for the life of each organism it is necessary that this tendency should be checked.” “Animals and Plants under Domestication,” vol. ii. p. 130). He adds, hence “the good effects of crossing the bre d, for the germ will be thus slightly modified or acted on by new forces.” The invigoration consequent on changing seed corn from one district to another is due to the same causes, as well as the “evil effects of close interbreeding prolonged daring many generations, during which the germ will be acted on by a male having almost identically the same constitution.”

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