Omics approach to healthy plants

Masami Yokota Hirai and Kazuki Saito from RIKENÕs Plant Science Center in Yokohama have identified the genes controlling glucosinolate production in cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. These compounds are natural pesticides but are also known to have potential antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The team combined data from two "omics" techniques - transcriptomics and metabolomics - to define the molecular biology of the glucosinolate biosynthetic pathway. The team suggests that breeding or engineering brasssica to overexpress glucosinolate production might reduce pesticide requirements as well as improve the nutritional value of these vegetables.