Forever shades of gray

The facts of the Schmeiser case aren’t quite a tidy as his website would have you believe. He deliberately harvested, saved and replanted seed from a test plot on his property that he knew was Round-up resistant. After finding that some of his plants were Round-Up resistant, Schmeiser tested a 3 acre plot of his crop by spraying it with Round-up to confirm the resistance. Then he directed an employee to harvest the seed from that plot and used that seed to replant the following season.

It’s one thing to have your crop contaminated by GMO and to have the Giant Multinational Corporate Demon demand your profits.

The Courts noticed that it is different, and a technical violation of patent, to be a hybridizer for 50 years, no doubt aware of the GMO, to test for its properties on your own crops and then to harvest seed and replant that seed shown to have those properties.

IMO in circumstances where genetic material is released into the natural environment, as in agriculture, the owner of genetic material should not be allowed to claim rights to damages or to successive generations unless the owner meets the burden of proving the defendant knowingly introduced the material there. It’s completely foreseeable that releasing GMO into the environment will result in natural hybridization forces spreading GMO material around. It should be a risk the owner of genetic material assumes.

This issue isn’t for the courts to resolve but rather for our [wholly inadequate] national lawmakers to address by appropriate legislation. Pfft. When pigs fly.


yeah I was not going to go there, but yes he knew what he had and he apparently did use the technology…

Unfortunately, I have not successfully bought the rose yet,

(almost all Suntory’s blue roses produced in 2009 are now reserved and sold-out)

there is a gardener who actually got one of them.

Very interesting.


Yep, just another mauve rose. The power of Repetition is at work. For some people if you tell them enough times that a rose is blue they will eventually believe it.


No… I think you are looking at it the wrong way… it’s just the first step towards the development of the ‘blue’ rose. Even they describe it as mauve… it’s not like calling a mauve rose hasn’t been done before… ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, ‘Midnight Blue’… etc… I don’t see what all the fuss is about really… the only issue I feel is all the legal issues.

Looks pretty blue to me. If these are accurate renditions then the color is more blue than any of the mauves. If they ever do get released here I’d like to run reflectance spectroscopy on them.

Just another lavender. Big deal. You want BLUE? Here ya go.


but funny, lol :slight_smile:

I’m was born color blind, but it looks more blue than most other lavender/mauve roses that I’ve seen.

I must say I’m getting tired of all these ‘just another mauve’ comments. Would you like it when people say ‘just another rose’ when they see your seedlings? The big deal here is not the rose itself, or even the color. It’s the way it is created and what we learn by creating it. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. Don’t you agree?


I’ll get excited when a true delphinium blue rose is created, by whatever means that comes … until then, it’s fun to see the progress along the way.


Someday, it may be fun to try working with these. Yes, I know the arguments against it…

Jim Sproul

As a photographer I can say that the blue cast in the photographs shown of this new “Blue” rose are down to the colour balance of the lighting. If you look at the second image on the blog ( Modern Syntax ), the one of the sign, you can see the colour of the rose in more normal light and it’s decidedly pink.

It really doesn’t look any more blue to me than ‘Blue Moon’ would under the same light.

I would think, as the pigments for blue colouring are already present in roses like ‘Blue Moon’, and that the mauve cast is due to pH (it was few years ago that I read the paper on the subject but I recall that the problem was the acidity of the petals), wouldn’t they have been better off investing their time in changing the pH of the mauve roses so that the blue pigment is expressed correctly.

As it stands they’ve put all that time and money into producing something akin to what conventional breeding achieved years ago; and now have to go about adjusting the pH of the petals to get the delphinium to express properly.

The whole subject of this has come up before here by the way:

For my part I would think amateur breeders would be better off working on the mauves to develop truly blue roses, the genes are there and they are not patented, you just need to get the pH right.

As for ‘Applause’, I don’t think I’ll be offering any. As with most GM developments this is more hype than substance.

Excellent thoughts Jinks. I did not say anything at first about the lighting but I suspected as such. By the way as I understand it the blue pigments in the mauve roses are stable at ph 0 to 7 so there is no need to change the ph since most rose petals are anywhere from about 3.5 to 6. So I will say again if you repeat something often enough someone will believe it sooner of later. :slight_smile:


Hi pocajun,

I believe your right about the pH stability of rosacyanins. I think the pH problem in mauves is associated with the anthocyanin and cyanidin, they mix with the rosacyanins to give the mauve colour. At the right pH they are apparently rendered colourless allowing the blue to come through cleanly.

If you could just need to breed out the anthocyanin and cyanidin and concentrate the rosacyanins you could also get a true blue rose.

Either way you could achieve a blue rose through traditional breeding methods and have no need to go to GM roses for the genes.

Sorry, got a bit mixed up with the start of that one sentence. It should reed:

If you could just breed out the anthocyanin and cyanidin and concentrate the rosacyanins you could also get a true blue rose.

Cross it with a white? How exactly does pigment expression repression work?

That was what I was planning on doing Jadae. I read that the Japenese were going to try to use a white rose but instead used the RNAi technology which uses a silencer gene to inhibit the anthocyanins and cyanidins. The white rose was going to take too long as far as they were concerned. Well we have no choice. It really is very intersting what they are doing once you start reading about it. Now they still have the ph problem. With the rosacyanins which were shown to be stable between o - 7 ph that should not be a problem. But surely a white rose does have some pigments even if they are hidden. Maybe someone knows. I trie to look it up with no luck.


If you could just breed out the anthocyanin and cyanidin and concentrate the rosacyanins you could also get a true blue rose.

Actually, no. The rosacyanins are stable complexes of cyanin with a derivitive of gallic acid. Any strategy for amplifying rosacyanin pigment levels must therefore use roses that make cyanin.

The white rose was going to take too long as far as they were concerned.

Not quite.

The problems they encountered were related to unexpected side reactions in the biosynthetic pathways for the anthocyanins (delphinidin being one of these, see my article ‘Fun with color’ in the winter '08 newsletter). These side reactions short-circuit the process and little or no anthocyanins are produced.

White roses, by definition, have these side reactions built in. Hence, they have no color.

As I said earlier, intensive cross-hybridization of mauves is way to go. Out-crosses of mauves to roses that make very high levels of cyanin followed by back-crosses to the mauves followed by further introgression among the mauves also makes sense biochemically.

Because high levels of cyanin mask the visual presentation of rosacyanins the use of reflectance spectroscopy as a selection tool also makes sense.

Just my two sense.