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REF: "gene gun"

  • Subject: REF: "gene gun"
  • From: HoroRL@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 21:07:50 EST

Hi, all:

A friend of mine,  Brian Mahieu, who is into daylily hybridizing especially 
with species, posted the following: 

"I was not suggesting we use the gene gun to inject corn genes into the 
daylily, I
was referring to Mary Lester's intermating of (Hemerocallis STARLIGHT X
Hosta ventricosa).  I meant to say it is POSSIBLE that some stray bit of
hosta DNA could have altered DOROTHEA.  Not, probable -- perhaps verging
on science fiction -- but possible.  One must remember that at the time
Mary Lester made this cross (mid 1940s) the prevailing thought was that
hosta and hemerocallis were in the same family, thus such a cross was
not preposterous."  "I said:

"Remember, DOROTHEA is (STARLIGHT X Hosta ventricosa!) according to her
hybridizer Mary Lester in an article published in the Journal years ago.
Dorothea was said to be the first hem. with lavender in the eyezone and
is in the parentage of Lambert's CERULEAN STAR.  Hosta ventricosa has
lavender blue blooms, and at the time of making the cross they believed
Hemerocallis and Hosta to be in the same family.  Another hybridizer was
said to replicate the cross.  Mary said that seedlings from DOROTHEA
began exhibiting foliage over 2 inches wide...  gives one pause to
think!  I say if scientists can take a gene gun and shoot bits of DNA
into a corn leaf and change the plant SOMETHING could have happened
between Hosta Ventricosa and STARLIGHT!"

Here is an article about the gene gun being used at Auburn University:


Here is an article about Robert J. Griesbach, a plant geneticist with USDA's
Agricultural Research Service. He is using the gene gun in relation to 
changing the color of orchids.
Dr Griesbach's page at the National Arboretum:
credits him with developing a dwarf, continuous
flowering Hemerocallis named Chesapeake Belle. 1996 (ELFIN STELLA X SHORTY)

This short article is a must read!  It describes how Dr Griesbach's lab has 
created an orange petunia, and a blue rose.  (Oddly enough, he did use genes 
from corn and "stuck it in the petunia's cells" to yield the orange flowers.
This article also states that one can change a red flower to blue by altering 
the pH inside the cells.

Best to all :-)

Brian Mahieu, AHS region 11, zone 5, north-central Missouri USA"

If you're interested in Brian's work, here's his website: 

I thought that some of the gene folks would find Dr. Griesbach's work of 


Rich Horowitz

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