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AG Genetics and Breeding

Subject:  New X old seed

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JABC (Jordan)

Kelowna, British Columbia

If you cross a seed from 2020 with one from 2010 (or vice versa), would the offspring have the genetic potential of an average seed from 2015? Or what about one from 2020 crossed with one from 2000, would it roughly be the equivalent of a seed from 2010?

1/6/2022 6:35:25 PM



Good question Jordan.Ive heard some that believe theyll be some vigor crossing recent with old school. Personally I dont believe that.I think potential is steadily improving and crossing the biggest with the biggest is a better bet.

1/7/2022 1:52:15 AM


Plymouth, MN

I don't think year matters nearly as much as how many generations removed from each other the pumpkins are. Also, most of your big recent pumpkins come from a handful of lineages (e.g. 2145, 1756, 2009) so in your proposed cross it'd really depend if you're mixing in genes from an older stock or not.
Backcrossing some older seeds probably isn't a bad idea, just to keep the genes alive while the seeds are still viable.

1/7/2022 10:13:01 AM

andy W

Western NY

Your question is based on two assumptions:

1 - There is an an ever- increasing genetic potential of our seeds through the generations

2 - That the "generation time" is evenly spaced with the hypothetical seeds.

I'll address #2 first, as that's something I have thought about before. Let's say you look up the family tree of a 2021 seed. The "youngest", or most progressive genetics possible (leaving aside a southern / winter project) would be for the bottom row of parents (4 generations back - what pumpkinfanatic displays) to all be all 2017 seeds. Obviously, this would be impossibly rare since we all like to grow some proven seeds which puts at least a year gap in there, usually multiple times. Probably the most simple way to quantify this would be to use the average year in that last row. For example, the 2517 Mendi would average 2015.5 in that last row. In contrast, the 2194 Cyrus has an average year of just over 2010.

I'm not drawing the automatic conclusion that the 2194 has a lower potential. There are a lot of factors - and in this case the 2194 was far and away the heaviest offspring from the 2230, which was grown quite a bit. Had Robert grown that seed in 2016 as an unproven to the same weight, he would have been #4 in the world for that year, so perhaps he had one of the special ones out of that pumpkin, and perhaps that something special will carry on.

So, for your math to work, you would want to be comparing apples to apples on the "genetic age" of a seed.

1/7/2022 11:45:28 AM

andy W

Western NY

That brings me back to the core assumption - are we creating more powerful seeds throughout the years? I would say absolutely yes. I was asked this a few times last year, basically what I'm doing different than 20 years ago. The answer is that we tweak things a bit all the time, but last year I did not put in almost 1000 pounds additional "effort" vs. my 1407 back in 2005. The newer seeds are just better.

"They're just better" isn't a technical answer, but there could be a way to test it. You would need to grow top seeds (ideally at least a set of 3) from 10 years ago alongside the equivalent set of newer top seeds. There's only a handful of old ones this would apply to (935 Lloyd, 723 Bobier, 1068 Wallace, 1161 Rodonis come to mind), ones that were consistent enough that there's no question that they were top of the heap at their time. My guess is that any of those seeds grown today would not grow significantly past their previous top weight. With the lack of those seeds, perhaps the alternative long term test would be to freeze some 1885s and 2183s for 10 years to be compared against the super seeds of the future. We should be nearing or past a 3500# WR at that point, maybe the mid-low 2000# pumpkins will be considered "ok" but not competitive.

1/7/2022 11:45:29 AM

big moon

Bethlehem CT

Here an analogy; Giant Pumpkin genetics and breeding are like a refinement process, the "gold" is way more pure now than it was back in 2010 when it still contained lots of less desirable metals(traits) like silver. etc.

1/7/2022 1:14:31 PM


Centennial Colorado

I don't know much about this, but I grew a 1409.5 Miller 2010 and it grew the second largest ever for me and largest for my teammate. The stump was the size of an anaconda as well as the vine. It grew up to 30 pounds a day for a week! I have never had such an agresive plant before. Planted in the ground in early June and pollinated in late July. By weighing time it was still averaging 20 pounds a day after a frost. It was bitten by a rabbit and started off slow because of that. Still ended up at 893!

1/7/2022 1:30:59 PM


Jericho Vermont

Orange genetics from 15-20 years go almost always went very light to what ever the chart said and were also splitting at the blossom end at a very high rate. Newer orange genetics seem to be holding up a bit better and a lot of the crosses are close to the chart. Overall I think genetics have improved and am not sure the next hot cross of the future will be produced from a seed from 2010.

1/7/2022 4:50:02 PM

The Gridiot

10,000 BC Younger Dryas 2

Agree some of the older nice orange genetics may have less potential. I think we have seen that under the best conditions they would top out at 1500 max, rather than 2k +... the potential of a 1495 or 1161 is probably there but seeds prior to those? Im not sure.

1/7/2022 6:31:26 PM

JABC (Jordan)

Kelowna, British Columbia

Cjb you're right, I worded it poorly. I should've said generations instead of years.

1/8/2022 5:58:27 PM

JABC (Jordan)

Kelowna, British Columbia

Andy do you think seeds get better with every generation, like a set of stairs that increases steadily? Or do you think genetics are mostly a plateau that's occasionally interrupted by very steep steps from the exceptional seeds like the 2145's, 1161's, 1068's?

1/8/2022 6:14:38 PM

andy W

Western NY

In my mind, there's a pretty complicated answer to that one.

The short answer is that I think that there are things we are doing to the plants to cause very minor improvements steadily. The big improvements are via those silver bullet seeds, combined with a selective breeding program (an unorganized one, anyway) that rewards the best weight gains.

1/8/2022 6:28:50 PM


Syracuse, NY


1/8/2022 8:05:34 PM

JABC (Jordan)

Kelowna, British Columbia

Very interesting. Thanks for the replies Andy

1/10/2022 8:51:05 PM

Total Posts: 14 Current Server Time: 5/16/2022 6:30:31 PM
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