Kaoru Miki would be pleased.

18 October 2009

I know this is kind of late in coming, but real life came first.

The science of botany has, over the years, produced many families of roses: red, white, yellow, orange, pink, and a host of shades and combinations thereof. Only two kinds have yet to be grown in any fashion: blue and black. Which is kind of fitting when you think about it, but I digress.

The number of roses which have not yet been grown has fallen by one. The Suntory company of Japan has done what used to be considered impossible: they've grown blue roses. In nature, the rose genome doesn't have genes that produce any proteins which only reflect blue light. In concert with a company in Australia called Florigene, they've isolated a gene called delphinidin from a strain of petunias and inserted it into a particular kind of mauve rose called the Cardinal de Richelieu. The roses that survived and flowered produce an unusually high concentration of the pigment cyanidin in the petals of their buds... if the pictures that were published are any indication, these are blue roses.

This new strain of roses is supposed to hit the market in 2010.