FPsc growing guide

Brassica rapa FastPlants sc (FPsc) is a plant variety specifically bred for educational use in classrooms and laboratories. It is outwardly similar in gross phenotype and growth habit to the famous Wisconsin Fast Plants (WFP) variety of rapid-cycling B. rapa, but differs in ways that enable teachers and students to take an integrated approach to Mendelian and molecular genetics. Thus, like WFP, FPsc is rapid-cycling, flowering ~18 days after planting. The plants are relatively compact and need very little inputs or maintenance to complete the life cycle (seed to seed) in ~56-60 days. The essential difference between FPsc and WFP is that FPsc is self-compatible (hence the “sc” in its name) and tolerates inbreeding (via self-pollination, or ‘selfing’) with no consequent inbreeding depression. FPsc has been extensively inbred: seeds prepared for distribution were derived from a plant lineage that had progressed through 7 generations of single-seed descent by selfing. Since in each such generation the residual heterozygousity is reduced by ½, we estimate that FPsc is homozygous at >99% of all loci in the genome. Absent allelic variation, pure (i.e., non-hybrid) FPsc stocks can readily be propagated over successive generations and still maintain the original genetic constitution—i.e., FPsc is true-breeding.

Growing FPsc is little different than growing WFP—add seeds to wet soil, put them under the lights and let them grow. Many useful tips for growing B. rapa and classroom activities can be found at the WFP home page (http://www.fastplants.org/) and nearly all are applicable to propagation of our FPsc variety. However, there are several tips and observations we’ve made that may be useful to growers to enable optimal growth, seed yield, and classroom performance. In the following we provide detailed instructions for growing FPsc. The directions are in standard font, tips and background information are provided in italics.

We thank you for your interest in using these exciting new resources. Please do not hesitate to email (swoody@wisc.edu or amasino@biochem.wisc.edu) if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Scott Woody and Rick Amasino
University of Wisconsin-Madison
September, 2011

The growing guide is also available for download in PDF format