London: Your bouquets could now remain fresh for much longer as researchers have found a technique that could slow down ageing of flowers by up to half, a finding that could lead to unravelling secrets on how to prevent cell decay in other organisms.
Researchers at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation in Japan said they found a gene believed to be responsible for the short shelf-life of flowers in one Japanese variety of morning glory.
`Morning glory` is the popular name for hundreds of species of flowering plants whose short-lived blooms usually unfold early in the day and are gone by nightfall.
By suppressing the gene - `Ephmeral1` - the lifespan of each flower was almost doubled, said Kenichi Shibuya, one of the lead researchers in the study carried out jointly with Kagoshima University in Japan.
"Unmodified flowers started withering 13 hours after they opened, but flowers that had been genetically modified stayed open for 24 hours," he said.
This means the plant has fresh purple flowers alongside the paler blooms from the previous day, Shibuya added.