ZHENGZHOU, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Cloned peonies made their debut show at the ongoing peony festival in Luoyang, central China's Henan Province, with their full blossoming set for mid April.
As an imperial capital during 13 dynasties, Luoyang claims to have the country's best peonies. The flower was a favorite of royal families for its luxuriant blossom, which came to symbolize prosperity and wealth.
The city hosts the annual festival from April 5 to May 5 to celebrate the auspicious flower.
Kong Xiangsheng, professor with the Henan University of Science and Technology, said 125 cloned peony plants were on the exhibition in Luoyang. Tourists can enjoy the blossoming for a week from mid-April.
The plants were cloned from peony tissue ranging from roots, stems and leaves in a sterile environment, he said.
The Luoyang academy of agriculture and forestry science completed the sequencing of the peony genome last year, recording 65,898 peony genes, and putting together a database of 1,000 peony varieties.
Mapping of the genome will lead to better protection of wild peonies and precision seeding, and expand the use of peonies for making cosmetics and other commercial products.
Wang said that with the cloning technology, scientists could make fast cultivation of rare breed peonies on a large scale.