Roses are red, violets are blue, impatiens are . . . yellow?
Not yet, but perhaps one day. Researchers recently ground up 32 kilograms of snapdragon buds to extract and identify the enzyme responsible for making aurone flavonoids, an important source of yellow color in many flowers. In the Nov. 10 Science, the team reports that it also determined the gene that codes for this enzyme, called aureusidin synthase.
Floral researchers had previously figured out many details of blue and red coloration but knew less about the sunny hues of yellow blossoms, like those of the snapdragon shown here.
“Yellow varieties of some popular ornamental flowers . . . are not known,” says team member Toru Nakayama of Tohoku University in Japan. “If the yellow gene were available, it would be a useful tool to create yellow flowers of these plants by genetic engineering approaches.”