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Re: Thoughts for the day


Mary:

>I don't know the answer but then I have never been able to convince 
>myself that a red hosta is what I want anyway.

Actually, a red leafed hosta should be possible through conventional 
plant breeding as red petioles are present in the germplasm base.  
However, there appears to be mechanisms in place that make it 
difficult to develop a red leaf as color variegations tend to reduce 
photosynthesis and thus these plants are at a selective disadvantage.

>Here in the South the red petioles only last until the heat arrives. 
>Some become a muddy brown and others just fade away.

That has to do with a lot of modifier genes.  Anthocyanidin pigment 
production has a lot of modifier genes that effect which specific 
anthocyanidin is produced, the amount produced and many of these genes 
are also temperature sensitive.  I don't know if it is universal, but 
every anthocyanidin pigmentation system that I've looked at has some 
inhibitor genes that effect the presence or absence of pigment.  There 
are also genes that effect pigment distribution.  I have one seedling 
that has red petioles in a spotted pattern.  We know the genes for red 
anthocyanidin is present in hostas, probably cyanidin, because we see 
red petioles.  I also have some seedlings with some pink in the roots, 
so if I can get roots with anthocyanidin in them, or other red 
pigment, I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to get red leaves.

Who knows if red pigmented hostas will be useful or not - that will 
depend on how stable the pigment is, but it sure will make hosts 
hybridizing more interesting.

Joe Halinar

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