F1 Hybrid - What the Heck Are You Talking About?
F1 hybrid is a term used in genetics and selective breeding. F1 stands for Filial 1, the first filial generation seeds/plants or animal offspring resulting from a cross mating of distinctly different parental types. The term is sometimes written with a subscript, as F1 hybrid. The offspring of distinctly different parental types produce a new, uniform variety with specific characteristics from either or both parents. In fish breeding, those parents frequently are two closely related fish species, while in plant and animal genetics those parents usually are two inbred lines. Mules are F1 hybrids between horse and donkey. Crossing specific parent plants produces a hybrid seed (plant) by means of controlled pollination. To produce consistent F1 hybrids, the original cross must be repeated each season. As in the original cross, in plants this is usually done through controlled hand-pollination, and explains why F1 seeds can often be expensive. F1 hybrids can also occur naturally, a prime example being peppermint, which is not a species evolved by cladogenesis or gradual change from a single ancestor, but a sterile stereotyped hybrid of watermint and spearmint. Unable to produce seeds, it propagates through the vining spread of its own root system. In agronomy, the term “F1 hybrid” is usually reserved for agricultural cultivars derived from two different parent cultivars, each of which are inbred for a number of generations to the extent that they are almost homozygous. The divergence between the parent lines promotes improved growth and yield characteristics through the phenomenon of heterosis ("hybrid vigour"), whilst the homozygosity of the parent lines ensures a phenotypically uniform F1 generation. Each year, for example, specific tomato "hybrids" are specifically recreated by crossing the two parent heirloom cultivars over again. Gregor Mendel's groundbreaking work in the 19th century focused on patterns of inheritance and the genetic basis for variation. In his cross-pollination experiments involving two true-breeding, or homozygous, parents, Mendel found that the resulting F1 generation were heterozygous and all phenotypically resembled the dominant parent plant. Mendel’s discoveries involving the F1 and F2 generation lay the foundation for modern genetics. Today, certain domestic hybrid breeds, such as the Savannah cat, are classified by their filial generation number. (An F2 hybrid is a cross between two F1 hybrids. This second-generation cross does not produce consistent or vigorous plants. )