Colors in dominance?

animeluv13January 27, 2008

So, I was reading around, about crossing certain flowers, and how it affects their appearance. But, I couldn't find any place that explained which parent plant the cross gets it dominant features from or anything like that. Like, if I were give a white pansy pollen from a purple pansy, which color would the offspring be? Or, if the leaves were compound on one, and not on another, which type would the offspring get? I know it's the whole dominant thing, but which plant would be the dominant, pollinated, or pollinator?

I'm only asking about crosses of same species, I know genera crosses are really hard to do anything with.

If someone could ebb my curiosity, it would be very much appreciated.


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maineman(z5a ME)


Many times it isn't a simple dominant/recessive thing. A lot of plant characteristics, including flower colors and leaf shapes, can be controlled by several gene locations, each one of which can be in a dominant or recessive state. So if you cross a white pansy with a purple pansy, you might get an intermediate color.

I cross zinnias as a hobby and they have a very wide color range. Crossing a red zinnia with a white zinnia might give an intermediate color, like a pink. It isn't exactly like mixing paint, because it is controlled by genes, but since many genes can be involved, the results of crossing different colors can be very interesting. And then, when you grow the F2 generation from an F1 hybrid, those genes can re-combine in a very large number of combinations, to produce a whole spectrum of color variations. Only in special cases is a single gene controlling a plant characteristic.

Plants have several chromosome pairs, the exact number depending on which species you are talking about, and each chromosome has many genes on it, so hybridization can produce a very wide variety of results controlled by a large number of genes.

Let's face it, if hybridization were as simple as Gregor Mendel's experiments, hybridization would be kind of boring. You can see pictures of some of my zinnia hybrids in the It can be fun to breed your own zinnias message thread, and its continuations in Part 2 and Part 3.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 2:10AM
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So, there is no real guarantee on what color would be produced in a cross?

Thank you for your help so far. :)


    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 9:43PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

MM, I read your 3-part zinna growing threads, and wow! Now I am sure I want to try hybridizing. I didn't like zinna before because I didn't like the petal shape, but when I looked at what you have grown, it is just amazing. The petals can be so different!

Thanks for the great threads!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 12:12AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


Glad you liked the zinnia message threads. I enjoy crossing zinnias because they grow fast and you can see results in a few months that would take years with many other flowers.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 3:33AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"So, there is no real guarantee on what color would be produced in a cross?"

That is right. The best way to find out what the results of a particular cross might be is to actually do the cross and see for yourself. From my experience with zinnias, I have learned to "expect the unexpected." Mother Nature is full of surprises.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 3:51AM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

I will search for some fast plants and research on some of the hybridizing effort and start this year. I am in Michigan and we have short growing season too, so I think fast plant is better for me. :)

Thanks again for the fascinating zinna thread.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:55AM
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Thanks! You've really helped. I think I'll do a bit of research on flower genes, and see what I can learn from the genes themselves. Maybe I'll even look into crossing some.
Thanks again!


    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 6:35PM
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