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OSAKA (Kyodo) A team of researchers from Suntory Ltd. and Tohoku University said Tuesday it has succeeded in altering the color of torenia flowers from blue to yellow by implanting them with genes from yellow snapdragons.

The group, led by Eiichiro Ono, a researcher at the Osaka-based beverage maker’s institute for advanced basic science, published its findings in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

The researchers identified the gene of an enzyme that helps produce yellow “aurone” pigment in snapdragons.

The team had previously found that another enzyme was also needed to create the pigment.

The group introduced the two genes into the torenia, a plant that normally produces blue flowers, successfully creating a yellow variety.

Suntory said it currently has no plans to commercialize the technology, but the researchers said it may allow the development of yellow flower varieties in species such as geraniums and African violets that do not naturally come in yellow.

In 2004, Suntory created the world’s first blue rose by implanting the flowers with a gene that synthesizes blue pigment in pansies.

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