Artificial Selection — Lab Prep

  1. Observing Artificial Selection in Plants
    • Two weeks before beginning the pollination experiments, collect a sufficient amount of small pots with a drainage hole in the bottom of each pot.
    • Fill each pot about halfway with moist potting soil. NOTE: It is recommended to use a minimum of 50 plants for generation one. It is standard practice to list the species name and date of planting on each individual pot, although this is not necessary to label the generation one plants.
    • Add a fertilizer pellet to the surface of the soil and then add more soil to the pot, enough to cover the pellet.
    • Use a dissecting probe to make a shallow ¼ inch depression in the surface of the soil.
    • Then, touch a toothpick tip to a glue stick. Use the sticky end of the toothpick to pick up one of the Brassica seeds and place the seed into the depression in the soil. NOTE: The dissecting probe can be used to knock the seed off the toothpick as needed.
    • Lightly cover the seed with a thin later of soil. Then, repeat steps 3 – 6 for each pot.
    • Place the pots in a brightly lit area, such as near a south-facing window or under a grow light. NOTE: Ensure the light is uniformly distributed across the group of plans. If this is not possible, rotate the plants every few days to ensure equal exposure.
    • Water the plants with a plastic dropper until a small amount drains out of the pot. Do this as frequently as necessary to keep the soil moist.