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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685


CHAVES, Ana Lúcia Soares  and  MELLO-FARIAS, Paulo Celso de. Ethylene and fruit ripening: from illumination gas to the control of gene expression, more than a century of discoveries. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.3, pp.508-515. ISSN 1678-4685.

The effects of ethylene on plants have been recognized since the Nineteenth Century and it is widely known as the phytohormone responsible for fruit ripening and for its involvement in a number of plant growth and development processes. Elucidating the mechanisms involved in the ripening of climacteric fruit and the role that ethylene plays in this process have been central to fruit production and the improvement of fruit quality. The biochemistry, genetics and physiology of ripening has been extensively studied in economically important fruit crops and a considerable amount of information is available which ranges from the ethylene biosynthesis pathway to the mechanisms of perception, signaling and control of gene expression. However, there is still much to be discovered about these processes and the objective of this review is to present a brief historic account of how ethylene became the focus of fruit ripening research as well as the development and the state-of- art of these studies at both biochemical and genetic levels.

Keywords : climacteric fruits; plant hormones; ethylene biosynthesis; ripening; signal transduction.

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