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Japanese and Australian molecular scientists have demonstrated the application of RNAi technology for gene replacement in plants, developing the world’s only blue rose.
Roses are genetically incapable of producing the color blue. To create it the geneticists used the gene delphinidin, cloned from a pansy, to direct pigment synthesis in the rose into the ‘blue’ pathway.
Delphinidin is a primary plant pigment, and an antioxidant. It gives blue hues to flowers like violas and delphiniums.
An enzyme gene was borrowed from the iris plant, named DFR, required to complete the delphinidin-synthesis reaction.
Then a man-made gene, was designed to exploited a powerful new CSIRO technology making it possible to switch off a rose gene that prevented the activation of the delphinidin pathway in roses for nearly a decade.