Thursday, March 22, 2007

Blue roses - it's finally been done

For all of you out there who are still playing the dating scene, maybe next year you'll have a new option for telling your "special someone" that the gig is up. Now that these have been successfully bred, you should start to see them pop up in commercial grower greenhouses pretty quickly.

Australian and Japanese researchers have demonstrated the application of RNAi technology for gene replacement in plants, developing the world's only blue rose.

Breeders had attempted to make true blue roses for several years, but none had successfully bred roses with blue pigment until fairly recently. In its first commercial application in plants, technology was used to remove the gene encoding the enzyme dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) in roses.

Roses are very old garden subjects – a favorite for some 5,000 years. The 'something blue' was the delphinidin gene that Florigene's geneticists cloned from a pansy, to direct pigment synthesis in the rose into the 'blue' pathway. The 'something borrowed' was an iris gene for an enzyme, DFR, required to complete the delphinidin-synthesis reaction.