Botany | Life Sciences


The use of roses as a symbol of emotion (specifically love) and as a result, a model of artificial selection, is rarely questioned. These plants share a rich history with multiple humanities around the world and have been a subject of genetic interest to see exactly what genes are being expressed that signal those beautiful desirable traits. To answer the question of “why” these plants have been a vector for human love for so long, I have analyzed 7 articles, one of them outlining the cause of the favored “double flower” mutation found in so many modern roses today. Upon completing my research, I have discovered that Greek mythology, political conflicts and an old love story have all played a role in the use of the rose as a metaphor for affection. In addition I outline the research done to positively identify the gene, RhAG in roses, that humans have been selecting for hundreds of years to achieve the “double flower” phenotype. Human influence on roses has ranged from artificially selecting the most beautiful and fragrant varieties to making them a metaphor that has lasted centuries. The rose is the plant of choice that fulfills the human desire of love.

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