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Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. In fact, many kinds of roses today have little fragrance. But a new discovery might change that.
A study of roses that do have a strong scent revealed a previously unknown chemical process in their petals. It's the key to their alluring odor. Experts said the finding might let scientists restore a pleasing scent to rose varieties that have lost it because of breeding for traits such as color or longevity.
French scientists identified a gene that's far more active in a heavily scented kind of rose than in a type with little odor. This gene, which produces an enzyme called RhNUDX1, revealed the odor-producing process.
Results are reported in a study released Thursday by the journal Science.