The world's first blue roses have been
unveiled to the public for the first time at an international
flower fair in Japan, following nearly two decades of scientific
The blue-hued blooms are genetically modified and have been
implanted with a gene that simulates the synthesis of blue
pigment in pansies.
The flowers, which were on public display at the International
Flower Expo Tokyo, will go on sale commercially in Japan in
Autumn next year.
"This is the first time that these blue roses have been
put on display in public," said Megumi Mitsunaga, a spokeswoman
"They are attracting lots of attention here because they
are so unusual."
The creation of blue flowers - ¬historically viewed as
a symbol of the impossible - was masterminded by a subsidiary
of Suntory, the Japanese drinks company, which has invested
three billion yen in the creation of blue roses, blue carnations
and other blue flowers since 1990.
Its scientists successfully pioneered implanting into the
flowers the gene that produces Delphinidin, the primary plant
pigment that produces a blue hue but is not found naturally
The world's first genetically modified blue roses were unveiled
in the laboratory four years ago, although further research
was required to make them safe to grow in nature.
Following the cultivation of test batches in the United States
and America, the company will be ready to sell them from next
year and aims to open up a global market for blue flowers worth
an estimated 30 billion yen.
The blue roses were among 860 exhibits on display at the fifth
annual IFEX, the largest flower and garden trade show which
is expected to attract over 32,000 visitors over the weekend.
Other highlights included glow-in-the-dark roses showcased
in an array of pastel hues in dark boxes, having been genetically
modified to light up in the dark.