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Re: HYB: I. amoena

Martin -- "Amoena" is simply a term that irisarians have applied to irises that have white standards and colored falls. So, since the standards are always white, people simply say "yellow amoena", "blue amoena", etc. What you will get by crossing a yellow amoena with a blue iris, or a yellow amoena with a blue amoena, depends upon the heritage of the two irises that you are crossing. In order to be able to predict the results of the cross with any degree of success, you must know the identity of the two irises you propose to cross. Otherwise, you are flying completely blind. When you know the identity of both of the proposed parents, you need to research their ancestry as far back as you can find it, so that you can make a conclusion about why the parents look as they do, what traits -- both expressed and unexpressed -- they carry, and, therefore, what their progeny may look like.

Since your interest seems to be particularly in amoenas, your chances of producing more of them would probably be greater by crossing two amoenas than by crossing an amoena and a non-amoena. The reason for this is that the amoena's appearance in itself is evidence that it carries an amoena gene, and the fact that both parents carry such a gene ups the odds that they will combine to produce more amoenas. This brings up the term "carrier":

You ask what you might get by crossing a "yellow/white amoena" with a "blue iris". If you don't know what the heritage of that blue iris is, and you make the cross hoping for an amoena of some coloration, you should stay away from Las Vegas. On the other hand, if you know the identity of that blue iris and that it has a strong incidence of amoenas in its background, that suggests that it may have (carry) an amoena gene that could combine with such a gene in the amoena parent, so you might put a very modest bet on the outcome, but it would still be a long shot.

There are other complicating facts about amoena breeding. There are "dominant" amoenas and "recessive" amoenas. In the case of "dominant" amoenas, it means they have a genetic factor that suppresses color in the standards AND this factor is strong enough to prevail against another factor with which it may be crossed, so that a combination of two such amoenas will produce mostly amoenas among their offspring (assuming germination of all seeds, which is unlikely).

In "recessive" amoenas, on the other hand, the factor that suppresses color in the standards is weak or defective in some way, so that it loses out when paired with a dominant factor and reproduces only when paired with a factor like itself. ("Factor" isn't a term normally used in this way by geneticists, but I'm trying to steer clear of allelles, heterozygotes and other such intimidating denizens of the dictionary. For an detailed introductory explanation of how dominance and recessiveness work (complete with alleles, heterozygotes and even worse), a worthwhile site is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codominant#Simple_dominance_or_complete_dominance.)

By their nature, "recessive" amoenas do not reproduce at the same rate as "dominant" amoenas. The rules of combination can cause them to skip generations, and even with careful selection, any countervailing dominant factor in irises with which they are crossed thins their ranks among the progeny. In other words, they're hard to work with, and breeding them for certain goals takes longer.

How do we know which amoenas are "dominant" and which "recessive"? Barring mutation, the answer is in the heritage. Paul Cook, of Indiana, developed the "Progenitor" line of dominant amoenas, of which perhaps the most famous is WHOLE CLOTH (1969). So, when you go searching the ancestry of your amoenas, the presence of WHOLE CLOTH will let you know that you most probably have a "dominant" amoena. The "recessives" are, predictably, fewer and harder to find. WABASH is probably the best known. My suspicion is that yellow amoenas and pink amoenas out of Jean Stevens' lines are recessives, but Barry Blyth would know more about that.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck.  I love amoenas.  --  Griff

Zone 7 along the tidal Potomac near Mount Vernon, in Virginia

----- Original Message ----- From: "Martin Weber" <martweb@arcor.de>
To: <iris@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 3:10 AM
Subject: [iris] HYB: I. amoena

I want to make some crossings using different I. amoena. Can anyone tell me what I get with:
1.) yellow/white amoena x blue Iris
2.) yellow(/white amoena x blue/white amoena


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