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Oilseed Rape in different colours

For a change from bright yellow
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Driving around Herefordshire on Saturday, it occurred to me what a monotonous plant the rapeseed plant was. If you could use a feed supplement or (shudder...) genetically engineer some bright blue and bright pink, it'd make the country side much more interesting.
dare99, Jun 17 2002

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       Nice idea, but does the yellow colour have anything to do with attracting pollinating insects ? Oil SEED rape ... no pollination, no seed. Bees see in the UV, but is OSR bee-pollinated ? Answers on a postcard, please ....   

       Multicoloured fields would be OK. Gets my vote.
8th of 7, Jun 17 2002
  

       Um, dare99, doesn't rapseed already come in a blue flower? There's lots of it around your old hometown, I'm pretty sure..
yamahito, Jun 17 2002
  

       I think you'll find that's linseed, but I'm prepared to be shown wrong.
angel, Jun 18 2002
  

       Yep, linseed. As far as I know all oilseed rape is bright yellow (at the moment!)
dare99, Jun 18 2002
  

       Does it matter if it doesn't get pollinated? I assume it's planted each year rather than reproducing itself.
pottedstu, Jun 18 2002
  

       Pottedstu: Watch my lips ...   

       The oil comes from crushing the seeds. The plant will not form seeds unless it is pollinated (as far as i remember from my O-level biology). Continuation of the species has nothing to do with it. No seeds = no oil. No point in planting the crop.   

       My understanding is that all rape seeds that farmers actually plant are now produced in test tubes by twitchy bearded bespectacled mad scientists in very white coats working in a huge sinister secret underground government research establisment and have nothing to do with actual flowers any more.   

       Or that could just be me being a bit paranoid again.
8th of 7, Jun 18 2002
  

       If you had different "coloured" seeds you could create huge adverts, visible from aircraft, by sowing seeds to make symbols and letters across several adjacent fields, using GPS to control which seed hopper was active at any one time - a sort of seed jet printer ? Could bring in extra revenue to hard pressed farmers.
8th of 7, Jun 18 2002
  

       if flowers don't get pollinated they won't produce seeds, pottedstu. You may be right that the plant doesn't need to re-seed to come up next year, but since the required product of this crop is the seeds, which are squished for oil, it does require pollination. However, pollination can occur just from air-blown fluff from the stamen (?? someone help, I'm flailing!) getting to the (?? other bit); it doesn't necessarily require transport by bees. I think. Gosh, that was all dredged up from pre-Standard Grade biology, more than ten years ago. I have no doubt that it is a flawed description of the pollination process, but it's the best I can do.

{whooa! annotations made at the same time - looks like it's not just me that is desperate to exercise long-lost biology knowledge!}
sappho, Jun 18 2002
  

       In my town the only natural color we have is from large tracts of bluegrass (which is *not* blue) upon which horses prance willy-nilly. Can I get patches of the grass re-colored, too? I think a nice paisley pattern would spice up those big pastures.
jester, Jun 18 2002
  

       I don't think we could quite manage paisley - but something pretty damned close.   

       Ants communicate by emitting pheromones. Modify grass so it produces a varying pigment depending on the plant pheromones it receives; then get it to retransmit it's own slightly modified pheromone. With a constant wind direction I suspect you would get a fractal pattern, conforming to the Mandelbrot set. Would that do ?
8th of 7, Jun 18 2002
  

       Sappho: Concurrent cogitation. Excellent. Welcome to the Borg Collective ! "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
8th of 7, Jun 18 2002
  

       [8th of 7:] Wow! Yeah, your fractal grass idea would suffice, and beyond. I can only imagine if you worked in a clothing store--   

       jester: Hey, I'd like to get a yellow tee shirt instead of this white one.   

       8th_of_7: Whoah! Hey! Wait! I've got this three-piece suit with light-up neon pinstriping, dual smokestacks, and hidden whilygigs in the should pads. Try this on for size!   

       jester: <stands dumbfounded>
jester, Jun 19 2002
  

       Jester: Sorry mate, but the only clothing we sell here at Borg-U-Like is Black on Black with silvery metal bits here and there. But we could let you choose your own laser colour I suppose......
8th of 7, Jun 19 2002
  

       The pollenation thing is interesting. I have been struck by the fact that wildflowers seem to come in a fairly limited range of colors. There are a lot of flowers the exact same mustardy yellow as rapeseed.   

       Perhaps by generating varieties with different colors, you could recruit whole new populations of pollinators who previously were uninterested. The multicolored field would be tended to be a greater range of pollinators, increasing seed yield.   

       One could determine which colors worked best in a given area by experimenting with paint before doing the whole genetic engineering thing. Although you might have to breed for color the old fashioned way - not sure that countries that don't call it "canola" allow GMO crops.
bungston, Jan 09 2003
  
      
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