Despite the number of available blue flowers on the market and in gardens, a ‘true blue’ flower has long since eluded both breeders, growers, and researchers. However, a team of Japanese scientists declared that they have actually managed to create such a specimen.
Blue is a color hard to attain when breeding popular flowers such as roses, lilies, and carnations. This is because most animals and plants are incapable of producing the blue pigment. Even those that seemingly have such a color may actually be only just reflecting it. Reportedly, not even ten percent of the known 280,000 flowering plants can produce blue flowers naturally.
True Blue Flower, Used as a Symbol of the Unattainable
Scientists turned to engineering for their goal of creating a true blue flower. Now, on July 26, a team of Japanese scientists declared that they accomplished this. They presented what they call a true blue chrysanthemum. One that was engineered to express two separate flower genes.
Naonobu Noda, from the Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, is the lead author of this new study.
He states that it has taken longer than expected to achieve this feat because of the “recalcitrant and unpredictable expression of introduced genes.”
Noda and his team set out to create this blue bloom by engineering the flower to express two different genes. One of them is from Canterbury bells and the other from butterfly peas. However, both of the genes are linked to these flowers’ blue coloration.
The resulting flower, which is in the blue spectrum, seems to be the result of “co-pigmentation”. This is an intra-flower chemical interaction, one that will helpfully turn other flowers blue.
The change in color is believed to have taken place thanks to delphinidin, a colorful molecule.
A research paper with the process is available in the journal Science Advances.
Image Source: Flickr