Species Specific Dna Markers for Digitalis Purpurea L. (Scrophulariaceae) and Zanthoxylum Acanthopodium Dc.(Rutaceae)

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Morphologically similar plants that are sometimes used as adulterants / substitutes for the prescribed drug usually causes reduced efficacy of plant based medicines / drug formulations. To minimize this problem, genotype specific DNA markers need to be developed. Remaining unchanged through short term variations in environment at different locations, and also through different phase of life cycle, DNA fingerprinting patterns constitute dependable DNA markers for ultimate individualization of a biological entity. DNA fingerprinting patterns in addition to supplementing drug assessment protocol as also establishing authentic taxonomic position are also important in establishing passport data in export of important plant genetic reserve and also resolving IPR conflicts. In this report DNA fingerprinting patterns of two medicinally important plants, widely known for their potential therapeutic value viz. Digitalis purpurea L. (Scrophulariaceae) and Zanthoxylum acanthopodium DC. (Rutaceae) have been presented. Of the various methods developed for establishing genotype species markers, 1. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) analysis of genomes that, being done through stringent steps for providing highly specific fingerprinting pattern and 2.Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) that being cost effective, not requiring infrastructural and expertise input, provide a food comparative study when surveying large number of (wild) medicinal plants have been used. Species specific AFLP patterns have been established for Zanthoxylum acanthopodiumd DC and Digitalis purpurea L. AFLP patterns of all the Zanthoxylum acanthopodium plant samples, collected from different areas in and around Meghalaya and Sikkim respectively were also found to be significantly similar. This establishes the suitability of using AFLP based DNA fingerprinting patterns for authentic characterization of plants. Keywords- AFLP, Digitalis purpurea L, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium DC. Species specific marker.

Traditional medicine is the mainstay of primary health care in virtually all developing countries. The use of herbal medicine in developed countries is also expanding rapidly, with many people turning towards alternative treatments that they hope will be less harmful and have fewer side effects than western medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that - 80% of the developing world relies on traditional medicine, and that 85% of this usage relies on plants or their extracts as the active substances. Global focus on herbal medicine has led to the use of modern technology for preparation of medicines from plant resource. This includes the use of biotechnological methods for supplementing drug assessment protocols for ensuring precision in selection of prescribed plants. DNA fingerprinting patterns that provide the ultimate in individualization scores higher over morphological, anatomical and other conventional parameters due to its stability of DNA through short term change in environment and also variation in phase of life cycle. DNA fingerprinting patterns thus provide a yardstick for selection of plants for eliminating possible mixing of similar looking/named plants willingly or unwillingly by plant collectors/vendors Use of precisely selected plants through use of DNA characterization protocol ensures uniform efficacy of medicines produced in different batches. Other Important use of DNA Fingerprinting methods of development of species specific markers include establishment of sovereignty rights of plant genetic resources that is essential under the benefit sharing regime convention of Biological Diversity to which India is a signatory. Under the WTO regime it is becoming increasingly important to develop passport data of plants to be exported- a need of universal concern particularly since the herbal drug market, globally, is expected to grow to us $ 5 trillion by the year 2050 (Joshi...
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