Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cactus Chimera

The name Chimera comes from Greek mythology refering to a fire-breathing she-monster in having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.

A Cactus Chimera result when two grafted cacti get distinct characteristics of two species on the same plant. In this case a Gymnocalycium mihanovicii cv. 'hiboton' was grafted on Myrtillocactus geometrizans.

Somehow the DNA of the Myrtillocactus passed to the Gymnocalycium and the result is a mix of two species in one. The species showing both of the two species characteristics.

Note: Chimeras are not hybrids. Hybrids occur with the fusion of two gametes from each individual.

Chimeras are very rare and highly valued. Nobody knows how they occur. It could be the result of a viral infection.

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