Sarah O’Connor (JIC), Weerawat Runguphan and Weslee Glenn
Metabolic engineering in plants has the capacity to enhance production of high value chemicals. Top left, broccoli; research is being carried out on the chemicals in food plants to understand the health benefits associated with specific compounds. Top right, the Madagascan Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is the source of the important chemotherapy drug vinblastine. Bottom, the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is the source of analgesic drugs such as morphine. Researchers at the John Innes Centre are uncovering the pathways used by plants to enable the synthetic pharming of these chemicals.