India’s miracle plant ‘Tulsi’ or Holy Basil has been successfully gene-sequenced (genome) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientists heralding new research avenues in extracting medicinal properties, espoused since the ancient Ayurvedic times.
CSIR said the gene sequencing will help synthesize secondary metbolites in basil for therapeutic properties, which has been made possible with the sequencing of the whole genome of the herb found in almost every home in India.
The plant has been in use for Ayurvedic use in the form of the whole plant or leaves or seeds and even other traditional methods of medicine like the Greek, Roman, Siddha, Chinese and Unani make use of the plant.
Tulsi is known for its organic compounds like phenylpropanoids and terpenoids and with the genome sequencing, scientists hope that identifying specific genes for therapeutic molecules will make it easy to produce it in vitro (in labs).
“This will also facilitate identification of not-yet-identified genes involved in the synthesis of important secondary metabolites in this plant,” said CSIE in a statement. The next phase involves producing synthesized metabolites paving the way for mining biosynthetic pathways in other related species employing breeding within the family of Lamiaceae, that the plant Tulsi belongs to, it said.
CSIR maintains basil tissues taken from its farm at the CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Lucknow and scientists were able to isolate the genomic DNA for analysis and identification of the properties.
Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, popularly known as CIMAP, set up in 1959, is engaged in high-end research in biological and chemical sciences, extending technologies and services to the farmers and entrepreneurs of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs). Its other centres are based in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pantnagar and Purara.
CIMAP has extended its overseas operations with scientific collaboration agreements with Malaysia in research, development and commercialization of MAP related technologies.