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CodyORB

Any updates on an E. woodii "sex reversal" experiment?

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CodyORB

Definitely sounds unusual at first glance, but I dug up this thread from 2016 where user cycadjungle wrote on a successful experiment where a "sex reversal" was achieved on around 20% of E. natalensis by manipulating the plant's specific growing conditions to cause hormone shifts.  They wrote that they knew someone in Los Angeles who owned several clones of E. woodii who would allow them to conduct the experiments once the plants cycled through several cones/flushes.

I'm curious if anyone else has attempted sex reversals since then, and if it really is a possible method of bringing back the E. woodii!

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Merlyn2220

Cycadjungle is Tom Broome in Lakeland.  I was at his nursery last spring and asked him about it, he said that he knew it was possible but hadn't tried it yet.  It would be a great experiment to see it succeed!

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Tracy
On 7/3/2020 at 8:49 PM, CodyORB said:

Definitely sounds unusual at first glance, but I dug up this thread from 2016 where user cycadjungle wrote on a successful experiment where a "sex reversal" was achieved on around 20% of E. natalensis by manipulating the plant's specific growing conditions to cause hormone shifts.  They wrote that they knew someone in Los Angeles who owned several clones of E. woodii who would allow them to conduct the experiments once the plants cycled through several cones/flushes.

I'm curious if anyone else has attempted sex reversals since then, and if it really is a possible method of bringing back the E. woodii!

Last night I was entertaining myself flipping through Loran Whitelock's book "The Cycads" and reread the section on sex expression, so this was fresh on my mind when I saw your post.  Since the cost of a true Encephalartos woodii pup that has grown to size to have coned "several" times is quite high, it would be a high stakes game of roulette.  It would seem that it would make more sense to get an established pup which has not coned yet and do it.  The investment in time would be shorter, risk of losing a mature plant lower and we all know that the pup would be male anyway.  Waiting for an Encephalartos woodii to cone doesn't establish anything new about it's sex that one didn't already know.  I would be very disappointed if I paid for some E woodii pups got them through a few flushes and then in the process of adjusting auxins and growth regulators killed some... especially if I didn't have success producing the holy grail of a female.  In summary, it is a very wealthy individual's experiment.

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CodyORB
On 7/5/2020 at 11:20 AM, Tracy said:

Last night I was entertaining myself flipping through Loran Whitelock's book "The Cycads" and reread the section on sex expression, so this was fresh on my mind when I saw your post.  Since the cost of a true Encephalartos woodii pup that has grown to size to have coned "several" times is quite high, it would be a high stakes game of roulette.  It would seem that it would make more sense to get an established pup which has not coned yet and do it.  The investment in time would be shorter, risk of losing a mature plant lower and we all know that the pup would be male anyway.  Waiting for an Encephalartos woodii to cone doesn't establish anything new about it's sex that one didn't already know.  I would be very disappointed if I paid for some E woodii pups got them through a few flushes and then in the process of adjusting auxins and growth regulators killed some... especially if I didn't have success producing the holy grail of a female.  In summary, it is a very wealthy individual's experiment.

I'm surprised the resource-rich botanical organizations like Kew haven't tried this yet. They did get a Hyophorbe amaricaulis to grow in vitro!

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Tracy
2 hours ago, Antti said:

Insightful article.  In that this article was written proposing the technique in 2002, I'm guessing they never received funding to actually try to implement it.  It would be interesting to know what happened to the project.

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Merlyn2220

I like the idea of tissue-cultured Woodii, even if they are all males.  :D  It's too bad that TC hasn't been successful yet on cycads, though it apparently works really well on Bananas and Agaves.

Edited by Merlyn2220
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