Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tomato Flavor Restores Rose Fragrance

It's easier to stop and smell the roses now, you just have to thank tomatoes and Gators.

Tired of big, colourful roses that hardly smell at all, flower researchers at the University of Florida/IFAS have found the genes to bring back that old-fashioned rose scent that has been accidentally bred out.

Their luck came unexpectedly from the tomato, where they were decoding the genes that give a tomato flavour. A flavour gene in the tomato turns out to be the scent gene in the rose. Now they're hoping tomato genes will make a rose by any name smell as sweet as before.

They say, they may even learn how to make a petunia smell rosy."The old-fashioned ones really did have a nice smell. Breeders looked for bigger flowers, showier flowers -- and they let the scent go by the wayside," says Denise Tieman, a flower scientist at the university's horticulture department.

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