A team from the University of Lyon identified the enzyme that helps produce roses’ intoxicating aroma three years ago.They said the key lay in encouraging the roses to produce greater levels of an organic compound called geraniol, which is produced in petals.Arthur Bouquet, an American horticulturalist, claimed that just 50 per cent of today’s roses have a noticeable scent, compared with 75 per cent in the 19th century. “I hope we will be able to change how these flowers look in the future and make them last longer with more of a scent, which is lost the longer roses stay in a vase.“They could also be made more brightly-coloured.”The research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, is expected to help researchers and breeders to manipulate rose flowering and colour, strengthen scent, or increase vase life.Writing in the journal, the scientists said: “Reconstructing regulatory and secondary metabolism pathways allowed us to propose a model of interconnected regulation of scent and flower colour.”This genome provides a foundation for understanding the mechanisms governing rose traits and should accelerate improvement in roses.” The scientists, led by Mohammed Bendahmane, from the University of Lyon in France, made comparisons with the genomes of other plants including strawberry, apricot and peach, to explore rose ancestry and evolution.They uncovered more than 36,000 protein-coding genes, and a biochemical pathway that co-ordinated the regulation of scent and colour.A number of candidate genes for flowering were identified which could in future be targeted to produce genetically improved rose cultivars.“If you go to the market and look at the cut roses, they won’t smell like anything. They smell like plastic,” Dr Bendahmane told The Times. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so William Shakespeare’s Juliet famously declared.But a rose that has been genetically improved would smell even sweeter according to scientists who have cracked the DNA code of Britain’s favourite flower.Experts have created the first complete map of the popular flower, which they believe could help restore the heady scene that has dulled in recent years.Researchers said that by developing the blueprint – the first high-quality genome of the flower- they could engineer roses to be more fragrant, more colourful and longer lasting.Due to extensive cross-breeding, modern roses have complex DNA sequences that are difficult to reconstruct and previous attempts to fit together rose DNA molecules have resulted in fragmented and hard-to-read assemblages.But now they have found a way to edit the genes of roses, even if such bouquets are still a few years down the line. For the new work, researchers used advanced techniques to sequence the genome of the species Old Blush (Rosa chinensis). The plant, known for its sweet scent and delicate clusters of pink flowers, is thought to be the first East Asian rose to reach Europe some time in the 18th century. A rose on display at the 2016 Hampton Court Flower showCredit:Geoff Pugh David Austin Roses Vanessa BellCredit:HOWARD RICE Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
By adminPosted on