Genetic engineering of flavonoid pigments to modify flower color in floricultural plants

Biotechnol Lett. 2011 Mar;33(3):433-41. doi: 10.1007/s10529-010-0461-z. Epub 2010 Nov 4.


Recent advances in genetic transformation techniques enable the production of desirable and novel flower colors in some important floricultural plants. Genetic engineering of novel flower colors is now a practical technology as typified by commercialization of a transgenic blue rose and blue carnation. Many researchers exploit knowledge of flavonoid biosynthesis effectively to obtain unique flower colors. So far, the main pigments targeted for flower color modification are anthocyanins that contribute to a variety of colors such as red, pink and blue, but recent studies have also utilized colorless or faint-colored compounds. For example, chalcones and aurones have been successfully engineered to produce yellow flowers, and flavones and flavonols used to change flower color hues. In this review, we summarize examples of successful flower color modification in floricultural plants focusing on recent advances in techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Color*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Flowers / metabolism*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors