[NAFEX] Persimmons...unstable?

mauch1 at aol.com mauch1 at aol.com
Tue Nov 22 15:04:27 EST 2005

He often speaks of odd
flowering times,  sports of his names varieties (even
from one branch to the other), and wildly mis-shapened
fruit  that look more like the citrus Buddha's Hand.
Not to mention the whole haploid/triploid thing (which
I do understand fully) and male, female, and perfect
flowers (with out seeds???)

I have to ask are persimmons just geniticly unstable
or do their genes just mutate readily??

I don't know that the sex changing thing has anything to
do with genetic instability, or any kind of gene change
at all.  
We tend to think of sex being XX and XY related,
but not all 'higher' animals work that way.  If I have my
facts write, birds are XX and XZ and the females are
the XZ.  Turtles sexuality is determined by temperature 
at incubation.
Clown fish can change sex, and the largest clownfish
in a anenome becomes the female (which could put
a whole weird spin on "Finding Nemo", but we won't go
I would guess that whatever determines sexuality in a 
Persimmon is not 'locked in' by genes and environmental
conditions may affect the expression.  I would guess this
would give the trees a breeding 'out'.  I.e. Persimmon
doesn't appear to me to be the most common tree in 
the forest, and if it were locked into its sexuality, it might
die out, but by occasionally inbreeding, it can continue 
to exist as a minor element in forests.  (i.e. I would guess
that outbreeding is preferred, but not absolute).
If the tree is Hexaploid, that might also go to explain the
variants in sexual expression.  If a gene gets turned off
in a growning tip, it might allow a different sexual gene
to express itself. Also, some plants that are obligatory 
outcrossers at diploid levels, the barriers are often weakened
at higher ploidy levels.

Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6
40° 5' N 75° 51'W
~650 ft elevation
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