Synopses & Reviews
When trying to solicit authors for this book it became apparent that the causal factors for heterosis at the physiological and biochemical level are today almost as obscure as they were 30 years ago. Though biometrical-genetical analyses point to dispersion of complementary genes - not overdominance - as the major cause of the phenomenon, plant breeders' experience still suggests a cautious, pragmatic approach to the dominance-overdominance controversy in breeding hybrid cultivars. Thus we are faced with a striking discordance between our limited comprehension of the causal factors and mechanism of heter osis on the one hand, and the extensive agricultural practice of utiliza tion of hybrid vigor on the other. Such utilization is the result of the economic value of hybrid combinations displaying superior yields and qualities as well as stability of performance, of benefits derived in breeding programs, and of the enhanced varietal protection of proprietary rights. No comprehensive and critical analysis of the phenomenon of heterosis in economic plants has been published for the last three decades since the now classical book Heterosis, edited by J . W. Gowen (Iowa State College Press, Ames, Iowa, 1952). The present book attempts to fill the gap and to assess the status of our present knowl edge of the concept, the basis, the extent, and the application of heterosis in economic plants."