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DNA barcoding: a genomic-based tool for authentication of phytomedicinals and its products

Authors Balachandran KRS, Mohanasundaram S, Ramalingam S

Received 14 July 2015

Accepted for publication 15 October 2015

Published 9 December 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 77—84


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ayse Kuruuzum-Uz

Karpaga Raja Sundari Balachandran, Saravanan Mohanasundaram, Sathishkumar Ramalingam

Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Abstract: DNA barcoding helps to identify the plant materials based on short, standardized gene sequences in a rapid, accurate, and cost-effective manner. Recent reports reveal that DNA barcoding can be used for the assignment of unknown specimens to a taxonomic group, authentic identification of phytomedicinals, and in plant biodiversity conservation. Research indicates that there is no single universal barcode candidate for identification of all plant groups. Hence, comparative analysis of plant barcode loci is essential for choosing a best candidate for authenticating particular medicinal plant genus/families. Currently, both chloroplast/nuclear regions are used as universal barcodes for the authentication of phytomedicinals. A recent advance in genomics has further enhanced the progress in DNA barcoding of plants by the introduction of high-throughput techniques like next generation sequencing, which has paved the way for complete plastome sequencing that is now termed as super-barcodes. These approaches could improve the traditional ethno-botanical and scientific knowledge of phytomedicinals and their safe use. Hence, current focus is on the investigation of phytomedicinals and herbal product integrity and authenticity through DNA barcoding with the goal of protecting consumers from potential health risks associated with product substitution and contamination.

Keywords: phytomedicinals, DNA barcoding, NGS, super-barcodes, authentication, ethno-genetics

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