Genetically modified flowers will not lose fragrance due to global warming, say scientists

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Kuala Lumpur, March 22 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have suggested that flowers might be losing their fragrance due to global warming, and the only way out is introducing genetically modified flowers.

According to a report in New Strait Times, genetically modified flowers as the way out has been suggested by Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, the Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Climate change is also the reason Kuala Lumpur City Hall is increasingly turning to shady trees, because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said City Hall used to spend RM1.5 million a month to plant and maintain flowers in the city, but the contractor's services were terminated in March last year.

City Hall has taken over the planting, opting for bou-gainvillea and the tropical shrubs, Ixora, for their durability and cheaper cost.

Under the previous arrangement, some of the small flowers cost RM3.50 per seedling.

"It was getting too costly to beautify the city. Flowers were dying fast," he said, adding that City Hall would continue to plant shady trees more suited for soaking up the increasing pollution and coping with global warming.

Latif said UKM might have offered plausible reasons as to why some pollinators were not spreading flower seeds, a pattern caused by the missing "scent trail" with scent tissues burning easily due to global warming.

"The aroma producing chemical compounds in flowers dry up faster now compared with before," he said.

"The only way out was to genetically modify the flowers so that the effects would not be permanent and the future generation would not be robbed of nature's beauty," he said.

"The act is almost like producing essential oils. Scientists add on certain chemicals for stronger scent," he added.

He said that cents in flowers last longer in colder climate as plants can hold on to their essential oils longer.

"The flowers may still have strong scents in colder climate. But locally, we fear this might be lost forever," he said.

According to Latif, Malaysians could no longer rely on nature to heal itself without the help of science.

He said Malaysia needed to follow in the footsteps of Japan, Europe, the United States, China and South Korea which have invested millions in the research of genetically modified seeds. ANI)

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