National

Roses are red, and now come in blue

Scientists’ efforts to create the world’s first blue rose have, well, come up roses.

Distiller and beverage manufacturer Suntory Ltd. said Wednesday it has developed the world’s first blue roses with Australian firm Florigene Ltd.

Suntory officials said researchers extracted the gene that produces blue pigment in pansies and activated it inside the roses.

There are already “bluish” roses on the market, but these flowers were created through crossbreeding and cannot be called true blue, according to Suntory. The gene of the enzyme that produces the blue pigment, delphinidin, is not found in rose petals to begin with.

Thanks to biotechnology, the petals of Suntory’s blue roses contain nearly 100 percent of the blue pigment, it said.

Suntory and Florigene, which is 98.5 percent Suntory-owned, bred a blue carnation using the same basic technology in 1995.

The carnations were marketed in Japan, North America and Australia under the brand Moondust, according to the firm.

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