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Scientists unveil secret of roses' scent

ENS Lyon publication in Science journal

Published on : July 2, 2015
Parfum_Rose.jpg
Rose petal extraction. Photo © Alexis Chéziere, Université Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne

The key ingredients of the scent of roses are the result of an original and unexpected biosynthetic pathway that had never been studied before in plants. Such are the findings of researchers at the ENS Lyon Laboratory for Reproduction and Development of Plants (RDP), working together with scientists from the University Jean Monnet in Saint-Etienne, the Universities of Lyon and Strasbourg and the CNRS. 

The team identified an enzyme known as RhNUDX1, which plays a key role in producing the sweet fragrance of roses. These findings, published in Science on July 3, could ultimately help breeders develop roses with more powerful scents. In recent years, rose breeding had largely focused on traits like colour and longevity at the expense of fragrance.

To find out more, read the full article in Science and its accompanying commentary.

Rose odorante © Jean-Claude Caissard Rose odorante- © Jean-Claude Caissard

Reference : Biosynthesis of monoterpene scent compounds in roses. Jean-Louis Magnard, Aymeric Roccia, Jean-Claude Caissard, Philippe Vergne, Pulu Sun, Romain Hecquet, Annick Dubois, Laurence Hibrand-Saint Oyant, Frédéric Jullien, Florence Nicolè, Olivier Raymond, Stéphanie Huguet, Raymonde Baltenweck, Sophie Meyer, Patricia Claudel, Julien Jeauffre, Michel Rohmer, Fabrice Foucher, Philippe Hugueney, Mohammed Bendahmane and Sylvie Baudino, Science, July 3, 2015


Fruitful team work

Several French research teams were involved in this research:
- the Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology Applied to Aromatic and Medicinal Herbs (University Jean Monnet, University of Lyon) in Saint-Etienne,
- the RDP Laboratory for the Reproduction and Development of Plants (INRA, CNRS, ENS Lyon and UCB) in Lyon, in particular the "Floral morphogenesis" team directed by Mohammed Bendahmane
- the Vine Health and Wine Quality unit (INRA, University of Strasbourg),
- the Research Institute of Horticulture and Seeds (INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, University of Angers),
- the Institute of Chemistry of Strasbourg (CNRS, University of Strasbourg).

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