Functional genomics of apocarotenoids in saffron: insights from chemistry, molecular biology and therapeutic applications
Saffron is considered to be the costliest spice of the world. It has been regarded as highly valued medicinal plant in Ayurveda to treat various ailments. Over the past few years, considerable interest has developed in saffron because of its anticancer, antimutagenic, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Saffron's colour, bitter taste and aroma are its three main and peculiar characteristics, which are conferred by three chemicals namely: crocin, picrocrocin and safranal, respectively. The present review focuses on recent research/progress made in saffron in the area of functional genomics and highlights the potential of several genes and transcription factors involved in carotenoid/apocarotenoid pathway and responsible for flavour and aroma of saffron.