Chrysanthemum is a beautiful flower that comes in a variety of colours like yellow, red, pink etc. but not blue. However, the scientists have applied the futuristic applications and techniques to create a blue chrysanthemum for the very first time. This isn’t artificially coloured but the production has come as a result of genetic engineering.
On 26 July’s Science Advances, scientists claim that all it took for them to create a true blue colour was by manipulating two genes. The same technique can be used for other flowers like carnations and lilies. The true blue colour doesn’t have any hues of violet colour or other colours.
With the love for colour blue in flowers, the demand for such flowers has increased. Even though many flowers can be found in a bluish tone, there are hardly any found which is true blue in every sense of the word. Creating a true blue flower is an achievement not only because the flowers are commercially successful, but also because by studying the pigments, man can easily develop more artificial pigments.
Various scientists have tried to artificially produce blue blooms for various years but their efforts have failed to produce a completely true blue flower. The reason for this is because the selective breeding doesn’t work completely owing to the fact that the naturally occurring blue plants aren’t related closely to the commercially important flowers. They cannot be bred properly.
Naonobu Noda, the plant researcher in Japan at National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation, in 2013, discovered that when you add a gene from Campanula medium and insert it into the DNA of Chrysanthemum morifolium, a violet hue is produced.
Noda and his scientists expected the work to be extensive for creating a true blue flower but to his surprise, he found that by simply inserting a gene from Clitoriaternatea in Chrysanthemum results in a true blue hue.
Depending on the structure of the pigment, Anthocyanins can easily turn the petals of the flower in red, violet or blue. On adding the genes from Clitoriaternatea and Campanella medium alters the molecular structure of anthocyanins in chrysanthemum and produces the blue flower.
It was sheer luck that the chrysanthemums already contained a colorless component which simply interacted with the altered anthocyanin for creating the blue colour of the chrysanthemums.
Even though the officials are a little cautious about the effect of the transgenic plants on the environment, scientists continue to rejoice at their victory.