Modern biochemists and geneticists are now closing in on a prize that has obsessed rose lovers for centuries — the creation of the true blue rose.

The flower does not exist in nature, and despite centuries of effort, no breeder has managed to even come close. They have called many roses blue — Blue Girl, Bleu Magenta, Blue Moon.

They’re purple.

The only way to create the elusive and unnatural color blue is by manipulating the genetic code of the rose, and millions of dollars are being spent on the effort by genetic engineering companies.

The prize is a hefty piece of the $25-billion global cut flower market, which hasn’t seen a major twist in roses since the introduction of yellow around the turn of the 20th century.

But beyond the monetary prospects, flower lovers are already fantasizing about what new emotional dimensions blue would bring to the rose.

“You think of blue as the ocean and sky, which are very powerful elements,” said Amulka Kitamura, a designer at the Flower Box in Santa Monica. “I think it would be stunning.”

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