Transgenic roses... and disclosure

Just wondering… I was searching for the parents of ‘a rose’ and entered ‘a term’ into the search field and found this:

This is a patent application for a process to create transgenic carnations… in the event that someone was to transgenically modify say, a rose, that is not meant for human consumption are they required to disclose that it is a transgenic organism and where the transgenes came from or can they just release them in ‘Zambia’ (for instance) to avoid such a thing? I am wondering whether this might be one reason parents may not be included for some roses from ‘some’ establishments (I’m seeing rosa ‘red rose’ x e. coli LOL). I might assume roses would be on the list of possible ’ transgene recepients’ given they are mentioned in the references at the end of this document.

Thinking more about this… let’s say ‘an establishment’ was to produce a transgenic rose they are not under any obligation to register it anywhere if they have no intention of releasing it are they? Are they restircted from using it in hybridising then and just registering future seedlings resutling from such hybridising as seedling x ‘a red rose’ with a DNA fingerprint confirming the inheritence of the transgene (or maybe confirmed just by visual means… such as stripes… for instance)? If such genetic material is patented and pollen contains the transgene is that violating the patent if someone else uses it and the resulting seedlings also contain the transgene?

I had heard that a japanese firm had created a GM true blue rose. They were going to charge exhorbitant prices for blue florists buds. I’ve never seen or heard anything else about it.

Check out the link below. This is the only photograph I’ve seen of a blue rose so far that I thought might actually be unretouched.


Another link, with a probably better picture.


Yep. That’s it Fara. Good find.

…sure would like to root a stem of it…

I bet in real life if you put it amongst a bunch of mauve and lavender roses you could not pick it out.


I was thinking the same thing.

No, it’s not. It’s, in my mind, just another mauve rose. Jon Singer found a research paper that Suntory put out (I’ve asked him to look for it). I’ve read it, and one of the things it said was that the flowers will be shipped sterile (without stamens if I remember right, it was a while ago), and the plant also has a genetic marker so that if it is used as a parent, Suntory will be able to search for the marker. I may have that paper, or a link to it, on another computer, I’ll go look for it later when I’ve had enough tea to wake up. I’ve got to get Jon Singer on this list…

Here are some of the recent papers that are for roses, Suntory, genetic, blue and gene.

Definitely an active Japanese research area.

Did you folks notice that the Suntory news release at the link above is now five years old this month? If this was a successful product, would we not have seen it by now?

What I believe I am seeing is a company wanting very much to see their work as a “success” after pumping so damn much money into the work. And yet as we can all see, the resulting product is far from the desired goal of blue. They are hyping this work with the hope of recovering the vast sums invested, and yet the product isn’t the breakthrough they claim it to be, clearly.

If this was a successful product, would we not have seen it by now?

It’s coming soon to a florist near you. The holdup has been regulatory approval for importing a genetically modified crop. I don’t know the current status but the process is underway.

They are hyping this work with the hope of recovering the vast sums invested

$25 million or so before Suntori picked up Florigene, who knows how much since then.

the product isn’t the breakthrough they claim it to be, clearly.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for cornflower blue in the near future but it is coming eventually, no doubt about it. It will not matter to you or me, though, as the genes will be untouchable ($$$$) to the average hybridizer.

If you want to create a blue rose by classical hybridizing then selecting for the rosacyanins is your best option.

I agree Don but would not going about selecting for rosacyanins would be byound most of us because of the cost of the equipement to count rosacyanins.


From what I can tell, the engineered blue is no better than Gladys Fisher managed classically with Sterling Silver. She didn’t know it but by selecting for blue she was selecting for rosacyanin. Build a stable of mauves and you’ve got the basics for increasing the rosacyanin content.

Remember that for quantitative traits like pigmentation there will be a spectrum of expression in the progeny from any given cross. A very few will be devoid of the pigment, most will fall somewhere around or between the two parents, and a very few will have more than the parents. To ensure seeing those exceptionally pigmented roses it is necessary to create many progeny, more even than Moore’s Rule of a hundred. A thousand seedlings from a given cross would be appropriate.

Of course, it would be helpful to be able to detect and measure the rosacyanin content as an aid to selection, and for that you would need a reflectance spectrometer. Even this, though, is well within the means of the resourceful classicist. I’ll have more to say about this later. In the mean time, if you are truly going to chase after rosacyanin then the most important thing you can do is get together a stable of mauves, the more cultivars the better.

Building a stable of mauves… yeah, that’s what I’m doing here!

Jon Singer and I did some experiments yesterday with various of the roses in the garden to see which had significant blue pigment which was red because of pH. I’ll get Jon himself to tell how this is done, but curiously, ‘Burgundy Iceberg,’ ‘Nuits de Young,’ and ‘Fara Shimbo’ gave lovely blues when their pH was raised. ‘Cardinal de Richelieu,’ which I was certain would give a good blue, didn’t at all. Veilchenblau is not yet in bloom but I’ll try that later on. I’m breeding all of these with ‘Sterling Silver’ and will be growing the offspring in as alkaline a soil as the plants are comfortable in, to see what will happen. I’ll try to get Jon to describe his method before he leaves today.

This is from the experiment on rosacyanins. " Rosacyanins are blue or violet in a wide pH range (pH 1-7)". If you were raising the ph above 7 then you might not be detecting rosacyanins but something else. Very intresting, you might be on to something.


what would be the average ph range of a rose flower anyways?

Fara Shimbo said…" and the plant also has a genetic marker so that if it is used as a parent, Suntory will be able to search for the marker".

Fara, what is the significance of this “marker”? What is it’s purpose??

It is written into the risk management doc, however, that they are not worried about it turning up in future rose hybrids because the transgenes are not in layers of tissue that contribute genetic information to the formation of gametes. There is, therefore, no conditions written into the release of this rose preventing hybridisers from attempting to use its pollen. It is also written into the risk management doc that they fully expect people to propagate the rose by budding and no plans are made to treat the stems with herbicides. The marker, as I mentioned before, was to demonstrate the transgenes had in fact been taken up. This is also described in the risk management doc.