Development of novel plant varieties to increase demand and maintain market share is a major driver of global cutflower and potted plant markets.
Only a narrow flower colour spectrum is available for some ornamental species, thereby limiting their market potential. One way to create varieties with novel flower colour is by genetic engineering which can be very effective, as has been demonstrated by the recent successful development of the world’s first lavender-blue roses and carnations by Suntory and Florigene. However, to carry out genetic engineering effectively, it is vitally important to first conduct basic research into the physiology, biochemistry, chemistry and molecular genetics of the biochemical pathways that produce flower colour pigments.
The three major classes of pigments responsible for flower colours are anthocyanins, carotenoids and betalains.