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Celery Roses

March 24, 2011

Splicing a celery gene into roses and other blooms could make them last longer.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A rose with a dash of celery…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You wouldn’t mix a stalk of celery into a bouquet of roses.  But researchers at North Carolina State University think celery DNA may be a nice touch.  Horticultural scientist John Williamson and his colleagues want to make roses hardier and longer-lasting.  One strategy is to insert a gene from celery that protects against petal blight – a wilting disease caused by ubiquitous fungal spores.

JOHN WILLIAMSON (North Carolina State University):

They’re going to get picked up in shipping, they’re going to get picked up in the store, they’ll get picked up in your home or sitting on the table at the restaurant. 

HIRSHON:

The celery gene’s already been shown to protect tobacco and petunias.  Now they’ve spliced it into the rose, which Williamson says is one of the most challenging flowers to genetically engineer.   Next, they’ll see if the trick works. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.