- The World's First Molecular Breeder
Florigene, part of the Suntory Group, has used genetic modification technology to
create valuable improvements to important flower species.
Improvements to flowers - whether in
shape, colour, vase life, disease resistance or other characteristics
- have historically been achieved by cross-breeding of existing varieties.
This is typically a long and unpredictable process that might
lead to only small improvements and cannot span the basic gaps
imposed by the species' gene pool. For example, the absence
of the gene responsible for producing the blue colour.
the last 24 years Florigene and Suntory have developed, patented and refined
technology and are now regarded as a world-leader in the
genetic modification of flowers.
The original mission was to create the
world's first "blue rose" through genetic modification.
Our scientists succeeded
in isolating the blue gene (from the petunia flower) in 1991
and patents were filed in all major countries in 1992.
The group then started developing or acquiring all the other
technologies and know-how one needed to successfully implant
this gene into flowers and generate novel colours in the blue
range. While the rose is still a primary target, we are also
interested in other important flowers that lack the blue colour,
such as carnations, gerberas and chrysanthemums.
In 1994, Florigene scientists succeeded in
implanting the Blue Gene into carnations and were able to
generate the first carnation to express colour in the blue range.
The beautiful "Moon" series carnations are now on the market.
In July 2004 Suntory scientists joint project team announced to the
world the development of the first rose in the pipeline to a
true blue rose.
Innovations in Blue
Colours in the blue range (mauve-blue-purple) represent ideas such as spirituality,
integrity, passion and tranquility. There is little doubt that these "blue" colours
have become very popular in recent times.
However, for some of the most popular flower species - roses,
carnations, gerberas and chrysanthemums - such colours are non-existent due to the
lack of the Blue Gene in these species.
In 1996, when Florigene introduced its mauve-coloured carnation,
FLORIGENE Moondust™, it was the world's first genetically modified flower on sale
and the first flower to embody Florigene's patented Blue Gene Technology.
Then in 1997, we introduced our second genetically-modified carnation, FLORIGENE
Moonshadow™. With FLORIGENE Moonshadow™, a richer, true purple colour