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Top 5 facts to share about … peaches

Ripe peaches, summer, juice running down your chin. It’s fine for all you northern hemisphere types. Think of us southern hemisphere fruitivores who have to wait months for peaches to be in season.

So, why am I writing about them now? A new Italian paper on the genetics of peach colour has been accepted for publication in The Plant Journal.

The title of the paper, Three distinct mutational mechanisms acting on a single gene underpin the origin of yellow flesh in peach, is bit of a giveaway. It contains plenty of details of the genetics behind carotenoid manufacture and breakdown for the specialists.

For the rest of us, here are my top 5 facts and findings from the paper:

  1. Peaches were domesticated in China, where they spread to Europe, Africa, America and beyond.
  2. Yellow-fleshed peaches contain higher levels of carotenoids than the white-fleshed type, so if you’re concerned about your antioxidant intake, yellow-fleshed peaches are the ones to eat.
  3. The manufacture and breakdown of carotenoids also gives peaches their distinctive colour and smell.
  4. A single gene determines a peach’s flesh colour, details of which are described in the paper.
  5. White peaches appeared first. But mutations in this gene gave rise to the yellow-fleshed varieties.

Feeling peachy?

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