Anomalous Inheritance in Rosa rugosa
Hereditas 28:237 (1942)
Cross experiments in the genus Rosa
Åke Gustafsson

Svalöf, Sweden, November 1941

A further rugosa-cross remains (1934:4). Here the situation is more complex, since one specimen shows no signs of the father, but yet without being maternal, and since the other specimen is probably a true hybrid with a great prevalence of the mother's characters. The former is entirely sterile in 1941, no hips being formed, although it flowered abundantly. The latter plant agrees in respect to sterility, hip-properties and content of ascorbic acid with the canina-rugosa hybrids mentioned previously. Cytological studies as well as progeny controls will at once elucidate the state of things.


Hereditas 30:411-412 (1944)
The Constitution of the Rosa canina Complex
Åke Gustafsson

Institute of Genetics, Svalöf, Sweden

R. canina II x rugosa: 1934-4 — This series consists of two individuals. One is a monosomic plant showing almost no trace of the father but also being very unlike the mother. It is smaller and less vigorous than its sister-plant, having few and rather weak prickles, small purely white petals, a light-green colour on stem and leaves, and lacks anthocyanin. It is less winter-hardy than its sister-plant; during the cold winters 1941 and 1942 the superterrestrial parts were entirely killed. It cannot be a monosomic of the mother-plant since the meiotic behaviour is that typical of canina-rugosa hybrids. Therefore in this case the loss of one chromosome obliterates the characters brought in by the rugosa genome.

Editor's note: this specimen is particularly interesting in regards to Hurst's "Septet Theory". Apparently the sectional characters are linked to a single chromosome—and presumably only a portion of one—rather than distributed among the set of seven chromosomes. A "Supergene Theory" could replace Hurst's early effort, and duplicate most of the behaviors and predictions.

Rowley also studied aneuploidy in roses (Journ of Genetics, 57. 1960-61), and mentioned Gustafsson's specimen. However, most of the aneuploids discussed differed little from expectation. Which is to say that the seven chromosomes of the basic set are not equal in their effects on the plant.


A Rose Odyssey (1937: p123-124)
J H Nicolas

In 1933 I had found a curious sport on Margaret McGredy. The foliage strongly resembled Rugosa but the plant characteristics also leaned toward R. cinnamomea. I mentioned this fact to Sam III [McGredy] when I visited him in 1934. Sam could not account for the sport. He had never used species in his breeding. His brother-in-law, Walter I. Johnston, spoke up, "Your father did much more work with species." We adjourned to the office, where complete hybridizing records from the early days of the firm are kept, one volume for each year, a valuable library. After several hours of research we traced the origin of Margaret McGredy to crosses of Rugosa and Cinnamomea. They were, of course, many generations back. But as these two species are in the blood stream of Margaret McGredy and all modern McGredy roses, the possibility of the sport was explained. It is an accepted fact that hybrids alone sport (pure species mutate, but rarely, if ever, sport) and can sport only within what is in them.*

Lately, the most unusual thing has happened to that sport. A sport is supposed to be a part of the hybrid compound which "took a walk". But this sport must have carried the whole pack as it has sported again a Hybrid Tea type with a magnificent bloom much more intensely colored than the original Margaret McGredy and is a distinctly a different rose. I am planning to name it "Margaret Second".

*A mutation is a significant change in form or character occurring suddenly in a single generation. H. de Vries defines it: "A permanent transmissible variation in organisms, as distinguished from a sport." A sport is a change in some part of a plant due to disturbance or dissociation of the compound of a hybrid. A sport character is seldom transmissible.


These surprizing results in Rosa rugosa hybrids inform us that there is more to heredity than Mendel conceived. Where Gustafsson found the influence of Rugosa to be dominant, and associated with a single chromosome, Nicolas's account reveals that the distinctive character of Rugosa's leaves can lie dormant for several generations, awaken briefly in a sport, then again disappear in a subsequent sport.