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RE: Identifying pink carriers

    * From: "Neil A Mogensen" <neilm@charter.net>

>Also, be mindful that not all "tttt" tangerine bearded sorts have very "red"
beards.  Some of them have beards with yellow-orange, orange or even brownish
to chocolate colors--the latter if a little blue is present.  It is easiest to
tell by checking the pedigree (if you trust it....) to see if both parents are
tttt--tangerine bearded to whatever degree.  Part of the reason for this seems
to be that not all carotenes are converted to lycopene, or may be converted
less than fully.  There may  also be xanthophyll pigments present in TBs--they
don't convert to lycopene at all, being from another chemical family<

Valid point Neil. When comparing beards you do have to take all this into consideration. 

There is no such thing as complete Dominance in genes, although you do have things which are very very close. There are yellows with pink tones and pinks with yellow tones (apricots). I have been working with pink (t tangerine genes) for some time and have struggled with the same problem as Linda, Which ones are the carriers?  I had noted difference in beard colour and found I could reasonably pick out the 3 t plants by beard shading. I tried with 1t and 2t but there was no reliability on this. 3t seems to give enough of a btb shading to be seen by the discerning eye and crosses have confirmed this for me many times.  
 A photograph will not help you Linda as the shading is too subtle to survive in a photo with the accuracy you need. Examine beards on all your babies and then choose. I do believe Immortality carries the t gene. Canbt remember if its once or twice.

>Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could "zap" the "t" gene and turn it into the
tomato gene "R," which is a carotene-to-lycopene conversion factor, but also a
strong dominant.  Even better, the lycopene gets stronger and redder, instead
of weaker and more dilute as in irises.  Just compare the colour intensity of
yellow tomatoes to red ones!<

I too have been wondering about this and have been doing a lot of reading on pigments this winter. I have access to the library at the University of Guelph, a World class  agricultural university, and been borrowing books from them. There has been a lot of research on pigments and chemical chains recently, the information on pigments in World of Iris is quite dated, although basically true as far as it goes

Ibll very briefly outline some of what Ibve found.  Lycopene is now seen as coming from earlier in the chemical chain, from the same precursors as the carotenes, and not from alpha-carotene as previously thought. The research also shows some of the chemical chains various pigments go through to get to final products. Significantly  different then what is outlined in WoI. What is being found out is that the chemical process (Chaining of transformations from one chemical to another) is very much the same from species to species. The production of anthocyanins in corn. Alfalfa, petunia etc goes though  similar processes.

The lycopene in Tomatoes, red sweet peppers and iris is the same chemical. In tomatoes there is another pigment in the skin (probably also in peppers) which help give it its colour. To see lycopene by itself, put some tomato in an oil ( I have found lamp oil to be very suitable , cheap and readily available from hardware stores) crush and then shake resulting slurry hard. You can also heat it up to further the extraction process. Tomato paste will also work well. The extract is a tangerine orange colour. If you do the same with carrots or daffodil flowers (yellow ones) you get a yellow extract, alpha-carotene. Very interesting experiment to try. To see lycopene in a tomato without the skin pigment, cover all or part of the ripening tomato with aluminum foil. This apparently prevents this skin  pigment from developing and the part under the foil is pink. I intend to try this myself. 

To extract water soluble pigments (or initially all pigments) heat the flower petals in alcohol. I have been using Methyl Hydrate (a paint thinner available at all hardware stores and very cheap). This will get you the anthrocyanins and other water soluble pigments and extract the oil soluble pigments as well, although they will settle out after a time.. To make it even more interesting, first use alcohol to remove pigment, then take the extract, add some mineral oil, shake and then let it settle. The oil soluble pigments will move to the oil and water soluble will remain in the alcohol. Try this with a petal of a red iris 

Why are iris pink instead of red? It has to do with concentration certainly, but also with colourless pigments as seen in white flowers. There are certain water soluble pigments found in all white flowers. Put white flower petals in heated alcohol and extract these. The petals will now look like onion skins, translucent, when dried.  The extract will be colourless. These chemical provide a structure which reflect light so the petals are white, but the pigments themselves are colourless. We look thought this white colour to see the Lycopene. This is the same as looking through a thin piece of white paper at a red colour. 

Ibm hoping to set up a small chromatography lab to study iris pigment more closely.
More then you probably wanted to know.

Chuck Chapman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Zone 4/5

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