Terry, I agree that this would (hopefully) be most useful for telling if a plant is diploid or tretaploid and is likely the target species or not. There is some potential for people to have plants that are triploids (as a result of breeding 2n x 4n plants). This case would potentially require further evaluation of what the possibilities are for it being 3n or a hybrid. Could easily figure this out for plants with completely unknown parents which might include a root tip squash for confirmation. Mixaploids I think are pretty uncommon based on the data I've seen to date. This could occur at a higher rate in some of the really weird plants and explain variable behavior from bloom to bloom as the plant could have an unstable genome or actually be a chimera, but these would be very rare plants.Geoff, if the total DNA content by flow cytometry is going to be detectably different between species I can see that a tetraploid will have 2x the DNA of an established type species and be easy to identify and probably impossible to confuse with hybridization with any other species because none should have enough DNA to get that high. However, as we get to triploids and "mixaploids", I am thinking that we couldn't reliably distinguish these from hybrids with another species? They would be identified as "non-diploid" but we couldn't be sure what.
I agree the proposal has its limits in terms of what this information may or may not be able to do. My goal would be to make it easy for people to figure out if their plant is diploid or tetrapoid and likely the species or a hybrid (or something weird and unexpected). Certainly it will be imperfect in certain cases and may not be useful at all in others.