Botrytis cinerea Resistance in Rose Flowers

Roses (Rosa sp.) are among the most important ornamental plants, with annual trade in the billions of dollars and accounting for more than one-third of the total cut flower industry worldwide. The global consumer market for roses is mainly localized to Europe and the United States, while the major production of roses occurs in Ecuador, Kenya, and other developing countries with low labor costs and a suitable climate. For each of rose flower, the transport distance from greenhouse to market therefore averages more than 1500 km and takes three to four days, during which time the flowers are subjected to both abiotic and biotic stresses. Gray mold disease, caused by the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea, is a major postharvest disease of roses, and can cause severe losses.

Using combination of computational, experimental, and functional techniques, we explore the complex gene regulatory networks mediating the rose petal response to B. cinerea. Our goal is to identifying rose genes which involved in its resistance or susceptibility to B. cinerea, and that underlie the durable resistance for future crop improvement efforts.



A multi-omics approach toward understanding the role of transcription factors in rose floral scent

Rose has been the most important crop in the floriculture industry; its economic importance also lies in the use of its petals as a source of natural fragrances. We aim to employ multi-omics approaches to identify novel scent related genes, using rose flowers from strong-scented cultivar ‘Sweet Dream’ and its mild-scented parents. An annotated petal EST database was created. Detailed chemical analysis of volatile composition in the three cultivars, together with the identification of secondary metabolism-related genes whose expression coincides with scent production, led to the discovery of several novel flower scent-related candidate genes, which including MYB and bHLH family transcription factors. In this project, the selected candidate genes will be characterized biochemically and genetically. The regulatory network downstream to candidate gene will be identified. We anticipate that our work could dissect the molecular mechanism that regulation of fragrances in roses.