Renaissance in phytomedicines: promising implications of NGS technologies.


Medicinal plant research is growing significantly in faith to discover new and more biologically compatible phytomedicines. Deposition of huge genome/trancriptome sequence data assisted by NGS technologies has revealed the new possibilities for producing upgraded bioactive molecules in medicinal plants. Growing interest of investors and consumers in the herbal drugs raises the need for extensive research to open the facts and details of every inch of life canvas of medicinal plants to produce improved quality of phytomedicines. As in agriculture crops, knowledge emergence from medicinal plant’s genome/transcriptome, can be used to assure their amended quality and these improved varieties are then transported to the fields for cultivation. Genome studies generate huge sequence data which can be exploited further for obtaining information regarding genes/gene clusters involved in biosynthesis as well as regulation. This can be achieved rapidly at a very large scale with NGS platforms. Identification of new RNA molecules has become possible, which can lead to the discovery of novel compounds. Sequence information can be combined with advanced phytochemical and bioinformatics tools to discover functional herbal drugs. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of small RNA species put a light on the regulatory aspect of biosynthetic pathways for phytomedicines. Inter or intra genomic as well as transcriptomic interactive processes for biosynthetic pathways can be elucidated in depth. Quality management of herbal material will also become rapid and high throughput. Enrichment of sequence information will be used to engineer the plants to get more efficient phytopharmaceuticals. The present review comprises of role of NGS technologies to boost genomic studies of pharmaceutically important plants and further, applications of sequence information aiming to produce enriched phytomedicines. Emerging knowledge from the medicinal plants genome/transcriptome can give birth to deep understanding of the processes responsible for biosynthesis of medicinally important compounds.

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