Genetic blues as 10 years ago genetic engineers set out to produce a blue rose by transferring a gene from a purple petunia that codes for an enzyme used to make a blue pigment (delphinidin) as reported in New Scientist, 22 May 1999, p7. However, it seems that more than one enzyme is needed to produce blue roses. In roses the delphinidin pigment seems to be masked by already existing pigments or altered by acids in the petals. Yet delphinidin does turn white carnations purple and these ‘unnatural’ plants are now available in flower shops.

Editorial Comment: This kind of genetic manipulation reminds us that God programmed information into living things and made them to multiply after their kind. Carnations and roses were not given blue genes so no amount of breeding could produce blue flowers. Genetic engineers had to find the information for blue colour in other flowers and then, by intelligent manipulation, transfer it to roses and carnations. When all is said and done, the purple carnation is still a carnation and the hoped for blue rose will still be a rose. (Ref. genetic engineering, flowers)