RE: OT Plant cell biology
Char, I'm glad you re-posted your question. I have no idea why it didn't come
through the first time, and wish I were there to help you filter out the
As to the OSU and Rick Ernst quest, I also read his article in the AIS
*Bulletin* with great interest, and also that of Dr. Spoon.
I realize that the two articles are completely separate, as the lead time in
getting articles to the *Bulletin* editor, from him to the printer, from
printer to USPS, then from that miracle of modern technology to our mailboxes
takes a significant amount of time. Articles appearing in consecutive issues
are written without knowledge of the prior ones--normally, unless the authors
have been in correspondence privately. That rarely is the case.
Please don't view the above as criticism of the process or any part, person or
organization thereof! I just recognize the processes take time.
Now--to your question. Char, I draw a complete blank. Until we see more of
the work, methods, results and how this one evolved, no one could answer what
you ask. Protected by patent--I wonder just what is being patented?
Personally, I do not believe the approach to red color in irises through
Lycopene intensification alone can reach the goal stated. Lycopene, as a
stand-alone pigment, is ORANGE-red, not spectrum red. Remember that stuff you
scrub off the kettle after making a spaghetti sauce? THAT's what Lycopene
In order to get true red, Lycopene together with a low-dosage of the warmest
violet version possible of Delphinidin, the pigment that makes rose-pink,
violet and violet blue "blue" in our irises comes close to true red, but has a
certain degree of "brick" tone at best.
To get true spectrum red I believe, unlike Rick Ernst, that the avenue of
approach has to be through getting a significantly different anthocyanin
produced in our irises than the one we now have available to us.
I think that is possible. There are genes that exist--and hopefully also
exist in bearded irises--that alter the chemistry of our normal mauve-blue
Delphinidin over into one of the truly red forms of anthocyanin.
Red Gladiolus, Peony, Petunia and Montbrecia (and other) flowers have
ANTHOCYANIN, not Lycopene pigments. So do Pelargoniums, which we call
"geraniums." There's nothing redder than a red geranium. I'd like to reach
into the nucleus of a red geranium or Gladiolus and twitch out the DNA strings
that makes those red pigments possible and transplant them into an iris.
Maybe we don't have to. Inbreeding some rather warm rosy-violets may bring to
light a truly red iris. It make take a while, but if we keep on sorting for
the warmest of the warm-colored seedlings, we may just possibly get there.
I'm plugging away at that and so are others.
I'm not the only one who thinks this way.
Neil Mogensen z 7 western NC mountains
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