Nathan Lange
Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:49:12 PST

The limiting factor in saffron production is that each flower only 
produces one pistil with a single branched style. Using plant 
biology's favorite model plant, Arabidopsis, genetically modified 
plants can already be produced with flowers consisting of any floral 
organ in place of any other floral organ. For example, Arabidopsis 
flowers with pistil tissue (including the style) in place of stamens, 
petals, and/or sepals. It's a relatively simple matter to find 
homologues of the same floral architectural genes in other plant 
species, including monocots. That was 20 years ago. Imagine a 
genetically modified Crocus sativus plant with flowers consisting of 
multiple pistils with a corresponding bundle of numerous orange 
styles (with or without the tepals, depending or whether tepals are 
still deemed necessary to protect the bundle of styles). Increasing 
the number of pistils per flower is one likely future of commercial 
saffron production.


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