Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What is a rose breeder? Creator or just a spreader of pollen?

Please refer to the following discussion elsewhere on the Web regarding plant patents and the nature of plant breeding:

Is that all a hybridizer is? This quote suggests that there is no creativity, discipline or talent involved in the creation of a new cultivar. I find this sentiment quite naive. If you are going to say that "The raw materials, the genetic material of the rose belongs to everyone and no one" about a rose breeder, then can you not say the same thing about the words an author uses, or the notes a composer uses? How is that different?

There is a faction that believes that living things shouldn't be patentable, and that they are not true creations, but something outside of the realm of human creative force. I tend to think this is just sour grapes on the part of some people: they don't like having to refrain from propagating and distributing a patented organism, feeling that it should be free for everyone to do with as they wish.

So, what is the work a plant breeder does? Is it art, or just craft with a heap of luck and chance thrown in? Are we like a roomful of monkeys, tossing pollen randomly at thousands of blooms, hoping for something worthwhile to spring forth?