Forget #theDress. What Color Is This Petunia?

Every social media outlet in the world was broken as people got into heated arguments over the color of a dress last week. Even with the raging debate between Team White and Gold vs. Team Blue and Black, real scientific controversies were still being debated. One such controversy centered on an incredible feat of bioengineering, a genetically modified Petunia that changes color over the course of the day.

Still, these researchers hope that the creation of a garden variety GMO Petunia will help show that not all GMO technology is detrimental, and in reality can actually bring about some incredibly unique biological phenomenon. Their plan is to have several varieties of these color changing plants available. In addition to their initial goal of developing a flower that changes over the course of the day, they also have plans to create some that change on demand, some that change when exposed to alcohol, even some that give off different scents like vanilla.

Two plant molecular biologists in Colorado responsible for developing this color changing garden flower, recently set up a crowd fundraising campaign in order to support their research initiatives. Now the question is will their campaign be successful in light of the controversy surrounding GMO plants and the agricultural industry. It’s no secret that GMOs have become synonymous with Big Bad Agro-Industrialists and “test-tube” produce, making the very mention of them unpopular.

While this seems fantastic and very exciting there is a long way to go before these blooms become a reality. Many are still in development and while the crowd funding campaign was successful it remains to be seen whether these plants will be approved for distribution. As of right now, the chances of approval look pretty good. The USDA unofficially stated that right now since these GMO Petunias don’t pose a threat to normally functioning gardens or produce they should be approved for distribution without incident. Still, until the official word comes in, the future of color changing flowers remains a controversial mystery.

For more information on color science and color application, you can contact Konica Minolta Sensing Singapore at 6563 5533 or email us at

About the Author: Garie Xu

Garie Xu is the Sales Engineer of Konica Minolta Sensing Singapore Pte Ltd. Graduated from a manufacturing engineering background, he is mainly involved in sales, seminar, training and coaching in the field of light and color management. With his prior 3 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry and 2 years in Konica Minolta, he is providing solutions to the many industrial applications. He has also conducted seminars and workshops to educate the industry on instrumentation technologies and color science.