Sunday, June 03, 2012

I was reading something about plasmids and their role in evolution...and now it is bothering me because I hope I checked that book out! If I didn't, I have no idea which one it was. :-/

I still find myself wishing that I were able to major in the hard sciences...although Dr. Barney says that botany is a "soft science" which sort of hurt my feelings, lol...particularly since it is still too hard, apparently, for my soft brain. I was reading this book: Writer, M.D.. There is a chapter by Atul Gawande about tenacity and about how skill in surgery is achieved by dogged persistence rather than supreme innate talent. Tenacity and dogged persistence are, obviously, things that I do well. Why have I been so ready to give up on chemistry? On the other hand, I've taken the college algebra class 6 times. Also, even if I pass all the necessary classes to get my Associate's degree in biology, I would still need to move to Moscow or commute to Spokane in order to get the Bachelor's, and an Associate's in biology is more or less worthless. Frankly, a Bachelor's in biology isn't all that useful by itself either.

But that isn't any reason I can't learn in my spare time and experiment, etc. My distant relatives, John and William Bartram, both naturalists and botanists, received no formal schooling in botany. John never even went past 8th grade, and he was the royal botanist to the king of England! That kind of stuff never happens now, but still...I can still work with plants without having a very expensive degree which, let it be noted, would not guarantee a job. There are hardly any openings in this field even if I had a Master's.


For some perverse reason, I am very interested in the idea of growing out potato seed. Not seed potatoes, potato seed, produced in small potato fruits that look like hard, unappealing little green tomatoes. Also, cross pollinating potato flowers and then growing out the seed. Some varieties no longer produce fruit, but they could still be pollen parents. Blue potatoes tend to produce fruit, probably because they are closer to their origin, less bred. That could be the seed parent. This is where plasmids come in- I don't know a whole lot about them yet, but plasmids are transmitted only by the female parent and contribute certain traits. For example, in hosta lilies, variegated foliage comes from the plasmids (which have their own genetic material aside from the plants regular DNA, as I understand it) of the female parent. It is nearly impossible to get a variegated offspring from a plain leaved seed parent crossed with a variegated pollen parent. I need to find out about the role of plasmids in potato traits...and other plants.

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