Roses are the most widely grown ornamental plants in the world, also important from an economic point of view in the cosmetic industry. The ornamental features, the therapeutic and cosmetic value have contributed to its domestication but the evolution of the Rosa genus is very complex.
The genus Rosa, belonging to the Rosaceae family, contains approximately 200 species, many of which are polyploid, that is, they have multiple chromosomal sets, but only from 8 all 20 species are involved in the cultivation of hybrid roses (Rosa hybrida), among these there is a very important Chinese species known as "Rosa chinensis". These crossings gave birth to the "Rosa tea", considered the progenitors of modern roses that have characteristic traits deriving from Chinese species such as recurrent flowering, the colors and the scent.
So far, the lack of a genome sequence of the rose has hindered the discovery of the molecular and genetic determinants of these traits and their genetic history.. By studying the sequencing of the entire genome it was possible to create a complete map of the DNA of the roses.
A complete plant genome was obtained from a variety of Rosa chinensis "Old Blush" and compared with other plants of the Rosaceae family. (strawberry, raspberry, pear, apple, peach, apricot) thus reconstructing a real family tree. This comparison showed that rose, strawberry and raspberry are evolutionarily very close but with small differences that have suggested a divergence in the Rosoideae subfamily and made it possible to reconstruct the ancestral genomes during the evolution of the Rosaceae family.
This map shows the main genes that regulate flowering, the colors and scents and the biosynthesis paths in which these genes intervene. Furthermore, new potential genes involved in flowering have emerged that could be useful for improving crops.
All the information provides a basis for understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms that govern the characteristics of roses and their diversity and help to accelerate the selection and improvement of the quality of these flowers..