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HYB: Flower of the Rainbow - red pigment


From: Chad Schroter <Chad.Schroter@quantum.com>

	Jan mentions that true red is chemically very close to pigments
available in iris today. Our club was fortunate to have a Micro Biologist
come and talk last month. He is involved with gene splicing of food crops.
Anyway I had read the same thing about colors in the WOI and my Biology of
Plants textbook. His explanation (as best as I can write and recollect -
please excuse poor use of scientific terms) is that each gene is responsible
for a process and several processes are required to generate a molecule,
such as for a specific color. So it is not just one 'gene' which needs to
mutate but a whole complicated sequence of genes to generate that pigment
molecule.

	As an aside he mentioned that since no relevant work has been done
for Iris, it would be a long time before any gene manipulation could be
performed. The mapping alone of parts of the DNA responsible for color could
take up to 8 years. Also a vector is required - something to actually
implant the manipulated DNA into the desired host cells. There has been no
research on vectors for Iris. From this I can only assume that rumors of
Cooleys funding genetic research into red pigment, if true would mean a
considerable expense and effort would be involved taking up to 2 decades.

Chad Schroter
Los Gatos CA Zone 9  


Sharon wrote:
>True, the pigment for spectrum red has been rarely found in iris and >I 
know of no case where it's been identified in a TB.  Lycopene, the 
>pigment responsible for tangerine pinks, is one of the carotenes.  
>That makes it convenient to think of its limit as tomato red.  We can 
>get beards and signals that appear quite "red" because the pigment >has 
greater concentration in those areas.  Getting "red" standards >and 
falls is another matter.

My understanding from Kohlein, was that we are only a small mutation away
from a red iris. It's only a matter of pigment molecules adding an extra
-CHCOOH, (or is that a COOCOOCaCHOOH?) somewhere. It's a long time since I
did organic chemistry, but I think that on this basis, we should all sit
around and watch our irises mutate for a bit.
Jan Clark (very tongue in cheek)



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