Origin of Stripes

Naturally-occurring striped roses have the genes for variegation. Stripes may also result from spontaneous or induced mutations. Mutations are sudden changes that occur at a very low frequency in a gene.

Spontaneous mutations (popularly known as ‘sports’) alter the existing genes and their expression, resulting in stripes. Induced mutations by irradiation or chemical mutagens also lead to genetically-altered pigmentation, and the result is stripes. Stripes may develop as a result of the transmission of genes responsible for stripes through hybridization. Viral infection that causes variegation in tulips may also cause stripes in roses. These infections could interfere with physiological functions of pigmentation, giving them a striped appearance.

By Dr. Lakshmi Sridharan