Foundation Stock in Plant Breeding

Z. A. Zavitz
1909 Journal of Heredity  
of Holland, after visiting Luther Burbank in California, wrote an account of his observations, in which the following statements were made: "Hybrids do not present, as a rule, any new simple qualities, only new combinations of already existing properties. As a general rule, it holds true that the results of crossing depend primarily on the selection of varieties used for that purpose. These indicate the list of possibilities from which the choice of the combinations have later to be made." It
more » ... r to be made." It is undoubtedly true that if we can expect to get the best results from work in hybridization, we must take the greatest of care in securing our foundation stock. It seems to me that one of the very first things which needs to be studied in connection with plant improvement, whether it be conducted on the farm or at an experiment station, is the study of existing varieties of nearly all classes of crops, many of which vary considerably in different characteristics. After carefully watching the crop production of the Province of Ontario and closely observing the experimental work at the Ontario Agricultural College for the last twentythree years, where we have carefully tested each of two thousand varieties of farm crops for at least five years, the writer is thoroughly convinced that the selection of proper varieties is a question of great importance in the improvement of farm crops, whether of a scientific or of a practical nature. Some varieties are particularly desirable, owing to the fact that they usually produce very heavy yields per acre, while others are desirable, owing to the fact that they are exceptionally early in maturing. Some varieties of grain produce long straw, while other varieties produce straw which is very short in its growth. Certain varieties seem very susceptible to the attacks of smut or rust, whileothers are almost immune. There are also great variations in the quality of the grain, in the strength of straw, and in many other respects.
doi:10.1093/jhered/os-5.1.167 fatcat:qthtbljpivcv5otbvve6w64ija