Persimmon Breeding in the Upper Midwest

This is an excellent laboratory institute. I considered using it for my work but its sister lab in Tucson AZ is also excellent and within driving distance from my location. There is also PacBio hardware at U Madison but they are difficult to work with.

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Both of these events were too recent.

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Based on the genetic distance between D. virginiana and D. kaki, the last common ancestor would be between 250,000 and 1,000,000 years ago, and most likely to be further back than less. The rationale is that crosses can be made but embryo rescue is required. This is similar to other plants which have been crossed with embryo rescue. When the genetic distance gets far enough apart, even embryo rescue won’t enable a cross though in some cases somatic fusion can overcome even that barrier. For examples, S. Peruvianum has been crossed with S. Lycopersicum with a known genetic distance in the range of 500,000 years using embryo rescue. S. Lycopersicum(tomato) has been crossed with diploid potato using somatic fusion. It is estimated potato and tomato diverged between 1,000,000 and 2,500,000 years ago though this is a subject of argument among experts.

This involves a lot of speculation on my part so don’t take it to the bank!


What measure of genetic distance are you using?


Thank you, this is an interesting paper regarding the evolutions of D. kaki and D. virginiana.

Taken together, these facts suggest that different
ancestral species might have been involved in the speciation of D. virginiana and D. kaki.

However, it makes no mention of genetic distance nor estimates of separation time between instantiation.

Hah! Yeah, they are surprisingly hard to source and Google tends to treat simple searches with a firehouse of irrelevant ads. I’m under no pretenses that crossing virginiana and ebenum is destined for success, but then again, it’s fun to try to do things nobody else has done. :wink:

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Dig through the linked articles. That is just the most recent, the previous articles put some time into figuring out how far they are separated. It is NOT definitive, meaning that there is plenty of room for further work to define the timeline. More important, there is no reliable timeline for the ebony family and more specifically for the branch where persimmon resides.

One key to understanding when they diverged is knowing that they were successfully hybridized via embryo rescue. I’m not aware of any plant species crosses via embryo rescue that were successful with much more than 1my of divergence. Persimmon can be very long lived trees. This tends to stretch out the timeline for speciation. Flip side, the older the tree gets before it reproduces, the more mutations it will accumulate. I can point out species that diverged in the 250,000 years ago range that can be successfully crossed with some difficulty. I can point out other species that can be crossed via embryo rescue that diverged in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 years ago range. Then I can point out species that diverged more than 1 Mya that can only be crossed via somatic fusion. Since D. virginiana and D. kaki can be crossed via embryo rescue, this suggests they diverged in the 250,000 to 1,000,000 years ago range. But!!! This has not to my knowledge been spelled out yet by detailed research. I would very much like to see an ebony family divergence timeline with solid research behind it.

It is from 2003. It also refutes the idea of a common ancestor, specifically calling out the prior papers that assumed otherwise. The methods section is very good. I recommend it!

The computation of separation time between two species does not provide a time when one specie or the other was instantiated. Thus a 1Myr separation could have occurred 15kyr ago or 70Myr ago.

As you know, I’m also concerned about genetic distance methods utilized in biology papers. I could perhaps agree with a centimorgan computation somehow extrapolated to years. But if the referenced prior papers are using Nei or another non-metric dissimilarity measure then their conclusions are invalid.

Hi all,

This thread is far too much for me to handle in earnest at this time in the year. I will be in direct contact with some people in this thread to source persimmons and you all can look forward to an update of our work on Persimmon once it is underway next year. In the meantime, we are $5k away from being able to sequence the 90 chromosome persimmon (Hexaploid sequencing is very expensive). This has never been done before and will supply some clarity to many questions you all have asked or opinions you’ve shared in this thread. So if you would like to make a tax-deductable donation to this cause, you can contact me through my work email..

We have a geneticist/plant breeder on staff who will be able to answer technical questions once we begin to present our findings. Hopefully we’ll have the genome sequenced by the end of the year.



It is true that D. virginiana has yet to be fully sequenced, but certainly other hexaploid plant DNA has been completed on PacBio hardware. The current cost for such a specimen is about $7,000 including Hi-C analysis. If you are having difficulty raising funds I recommend trying a GoFundMe campaign.

@Richard It actually costs 35k to get 90c Persimmon sequenced through HudsonAlpha, and that’s after several quotes. We have raised $30k so far through grants and private donors. If you’d like to talk more about this, I will certainly connect you with our plant breeder if you’d like to discuss more. Please email me through the link I posted if you’d like to have a conversation that way. But I can’t continue on this thread as it’s far too much for me to handle in addition to everything else.

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I have the 2022 single specimen pricing, all the way up to icosidiploid 308c Morus! But your costs will vary, based on number of specimens and lab services needed by your geneticist. I wish you success in your project.

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Anyone that wants to stop by and see my operation they are welcome. I have made a lot of mistakes and am about half way through all the possible mistakes. I am in Terre Haute IN. I collect persimmon seed, stratify, germinate, grow in pots, this year about 1000 seed in 28 pots, then graft some , this year about 40, have 120 fruiting hybrids. Some interesting. that is about it. text 812 two two nine nine nine four one. I will fill requests for Claypool orchard seed to a degree for hobbyist not sellers, as I collect there often and am friends with the current owner. I have permission from him to set out some new trees in vacant locations in his orchard and would consider your fruit trees to go there if you contact me. Could meet you there. I don’t sell trees or anything, just a hobby and interest of 30 years. I do a lot or experiments that some advanced growers might find interesting.


Strong work on the persimmon hybrids and orchard. Keep us updated with the ones with large and tasty fruits most cold tolerance.


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