Melinis minutiflora

A tropical fodder grass, called molasses grass, and native to Africa. Meloidogyne spp.

A widespread genus of root feeding nematodes, that do not form cysts and which can be serious pests of crops. Melon

See: Cucumis melo. Melon, water

See: Citrullus lanatus. Melongene

See: Solanum melongena. Mendel, Gregor

Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-84) is often regarded as the father of genetics. More accurately, he is the originator of single-gene (or Mendelian ) genetics, although his work was later used to explain the action of polygenes. This is an example of the time lag in science. Mendel's work was ignored for thirty-five years. After its recognition, in 1900, its importance was greatly overemphasised in plant breeding for the next century. Today, single-gene genetics still dominate plant breeding and, of necessity, genetic engineering. Mendelian

Pertaining to Mendel's laws of inheritance. Mendel's laws of inheritance

Mendel's laws of inheritance were based on his work, but were formulated only after his death. They are not of great interest to amateur breeders working with many-gene characters. The first law states that when two homozygous individuals are crossed, the Fi individuals are phenotypically identical. The second law states that recessive characters that are masked in the F1 of a cross between two homozygous individuals, will reappear in a specific proportion in the F2. The third law states that members of different allele pairs (i.e., Aa and Bb) will assort independently of each other when gametes are formed, provided that the genes are not linked. Mentha spp.

Mint, peppermint, spearmint, and Japanese mint (menthol). These species hybridise freely and are very variable. There is scope for amateur breeders looking for both highly specialised crops of exceptional quality, and useful levels of horizontal resistance. Mercury

Mercury compounds are mostly very toxic and their use as crop protection chemicals, particularly as fungicidal seed dressings, is now banned. Meristem

The undifferentiated tissue of a plant growing point. Meristem cells are capable of dividing into various different tissues and organs. They are the equivalent of the human stem cells in medical terminology. Meristem culture

A technique for freeing vegetative propagating material from virus and other diseases. The meristem is the part of the plant that is undergoing active cell division to produce new tissues. These new tissues remain free of all parasites for a short period. By removing the meristem, and culturing it with tissue culture techniques, it is possible to produce a new plant that is free of parasites. Not a suitable technique for amateurs.

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