Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2023) | Viewed by 50945

Special Issue Editors

State Key Laboratory of Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-Bioresources, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
Interests: plant biology; plant stress physiology; plant resistance against different stresses; abiotic and biotic stresses; heavy metal stresses; phytohormones; plant autophagy; plant biotechnology; plant genome editing; CRISPR/Cas9; nanoparticles; plant-bacteria interaction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Phylogeny represents the historical pattern of relationships among organisms that have arisen in numerous evolutionary events. Breeding has a proven track record of increasing agricultural productivity with a wide range of technologies. In recent years, due to their commercial importance and increasing demand, research on genetics and the breeding of medicinal plants has gradually increased and made some progress. However, much work remains to be done to explore the functions of genes, regulatory mechanisms, and signaling pathways for stimulating the development of breeding technologies in order to improve traits.

Analysis of the adaptive aspects of phylogenetic transformations is important, which can significantly improve the accuracy of phylogenetic reconstructions. Various technologies, including genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, etc., have been utilized to determine gene functions. These advances have created new opportunities for plant breeding programs to accelerate their genetic gain rates. However, the use of these technologies in the breeding and modification of medicinal plants has been limited, and there is still a lot of room to improve breeding development, detect the biological functions, and identify technological applications in medicinal plants.

Plant breeding has been practiced since the beginning of settled farming. However, its scientific foundation was not firmly established until Mendel’s work on genetics was rediscovered at the end of the nineteenth century. With the advent of new biotechnological possibilities, plant breeding has advanced tremendously over the past three decades. Scientists have made remarkable progress in the fields of breeding, molecular biology, biotechnology genetics, and genomics of medicinal plants. A substantial number of cultivars have been developed through cross-breeding, genomic resources derived from whole-genome sequencing, and the identification of agronomically important traits.

This Special Issue will focus on the advances and prospects for the breeding of medicinal plants. Our goal is to disseminate recent findings and progress on any aspect related to the breeding of medicinal plants. We are looking for original research and review articles and reviews on all relevant topics. This consists of:

  • Breeding techniques and methodologies;
  • Phylogenetic analysis;
  • Plant resistance against biotic and abiotic stresses;
  • Development and utilization of genomics technologies;
  • Phenotyping technologies;
  • Advances in the trait analysis;
  • Genetic analysis of traits;
  • Gene structure and function analysis.

Dr. Wajid Zaman
Dr. Hakim Manghwar
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Medicinal plants
  • Breeding techniques
  • Phylogeny
  • Abiotic stress
  • Biotic stress
  • Stress physiology
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Breeding methodology
  • Phenotyping

Published Papers (32 papers)

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13 pages, 2101 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Potential for Genome-Assisted Breeding in Red Perilla Using Quantitative Trait Locus Analysis and Genomic Prediction
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2137; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122137 - 27 Nov 2023
Viewed by 673
Abstract
Red perilla is an important medicinal plant used in Kampo medicine. The development of elite varieties of this species is urgently required. Medicinal compounds are generally considered target traits in medicinal plant breeding; however, selection based on compound phenotypes (i.e., conventional selection) is [...] Read more.
Red perilla is an important medicinal plant used in Kampo medicine. The development of elite varieties of this species is urgently required. Medicinal compounds are generally considered target traits in medicinal plant breeding; however, selection based on compound phenotypes (i.e., conventional selection) is expensive and time consuming. Here, we propose genomic selection (GS) and marker-assisted selection (MAS), which use marker information for selection, as suitable selection methods for medicinal plants, and we evaluate the effectiveness of these methods in perilla breeding. Three breeding populations generated from crosses between one red and three green perilla genotypes were used to elucidate the genetic mechanisms underlying the production of major medicinal compounds using quantitative trait locus analysis and evaluating the accuracy of genomic prediction (GP). We found that GP had a sufficiently high accuracy for all traits, confirming that GS is an effective method for perilla breeding. Moreover, the three populations showed varying degrees of segregation, suggesting that using these populations in breeding may simultaneously enhance multiple target traits. This study contributes to research on the genetic mechanisms of the major medicinal compounds of red perilla, as well as the breeding efficiency of this medicinal plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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12 pages, 2724 KiB  
Article
Comparative Analysis of the Chloroplast Genome of Sicyos angulatus with Other Seven Species of Cucurbitaceae Family
Genes 2023, 14(9), 1776; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14091776 - 08 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Sicyos angulatus (SA) is an annual plant from the Cucurbitaceae family that is native to the eastern part of North America. This study aims to assemble and annotate the chloroplast genome of S. angulatus, and then compare it with plastomes of the [...] Read more.
Sicyos angulatus (SA) is an annual plant from the Cucurbitaceae family that is native to the eastern part of North America. This study aims to assemble and annotate the chloroplast genome of S. angulatus, and then compare it with plastomes of the other species representing the Cucurbitaceae family. The chloroplast genome size of S. angulatus is 154,986 bp, including a pair of inverted repeats (IR) of 26,276 bp, and small single-copy region (SSC) of 18,079 bp and large single-copy region (LSC) of 84,355 bp. Compared to other Cucurbitaceae species, the chloroplast genome of S. angulatus is almost 4222 bp smaller than the plastome Gynostemma pentaphyllum. All other seven species have an identical set of tRNA (37), except Citrullus laevigata, which contains 36 tRNA. The IRa/LSC junction in all eight species is located upstream of rpl2 and downstream of trnH gene. Moreover, variation in the size of the gene and the presence of pseudogene ycf1 has been seen because of the IR contraction and expansion. The highest number of tandem repeats was seen in G. pentaphyllum, and then Corynocarpus leavigata. The sequence divergence analysis and topology of the phylogenetic tree indicate that S. angulatus is more similar to genus Citrullus as compared to genus Gynostemma. These findings contribute to developing the genomic marker for the purpose of future genetic studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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15 pages, 7808 KiB  
Communication
Application of High-Resolution Melting and DNA Barcoding for Discrimination and Taxonomy Definition of Rocket Salad (Diplotaxis spp.) Species
Genes 2023, 14(8), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14081594 - 06 Aug 2023
Viewed by 959
Abstract
Nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA barcoding regions are useful for plant identification, breeding, and phylogenesis. In this study, the genetic diversity of 17 Diplotaxis species, was investigated with 5 barcode markers. The allelic variation was based on the sequences of chloroplast DNA markers including [...] Read more.
Nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA barcoding regions are useful for plant identification, breeding, and phylogenesis. In this study, the genetic diversity of 17 Diplotaxis species, was investigated with 5 barcode markers. The allelic variation was based on the sequences of chloroplast DNA markers including the spacer between trnL and trnF and tRNA-Phe gene (trnL-F), the rubisco (rbcl), the maturase K (matk), as well as the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. A highly polymorphic marker (HRM500) derived from a comparison of cytoplasmic genome sequences in Brassicaceae, was also included. Subsequently, a real-time PCR method coupled with HRM analysis was implemented to better resolve taxonomic relationships and identify assays suitable for species identification. Integration of the five barcode regions revealed a grouping of the species according to the common chromosomal set number. Clusters including species with n = 11 (D. duveryrieriana or cretacea, D. tenuifolia, D. simplex and D. acris), n = 8 (D. ibicensis, D. brevisiliqua and D. ilorcitana), and n = 9 (D. brachycarpa, D. virgata, D. assurgens, and D. berthautii) chromosomes were identified. Both phylogenetic analysis and the genetic structure of the collection identified D. siifolia as the most distant species. Previous studies emphasized this species’ extremely high glucosinolate content, particularly for glucobrassicin. High-resolution melting analysis showed specific curve patterns useful for the discrimination of the species, thus determining ITS1 as the best barcode for fingerprinting. Findings demonstrate that the approach used in this study is effective for taxa investigations and genetic diversity studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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22 pages, 6636 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome and Metabolome Profiling Provide Insights into Flavonoid Synthesis in Acanthus ilicifolius Linn
Genes 2023, 14(3), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14030752 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1266
Abstract
Acanthus ilicifolius is an important medicinal plant in mangrove forests, which is rich in secondary metabolites with various biological activities. In this study, we used transcriptomic analysis to obtain differentially expressed genes in the flavonoid metabolic pathway and metabolomic methods to detect changes [...] Read more.
Acanthus ilicifolius is an important medicinal plant in mangrove forests, which is rich in secondary metabolites with various biological activities. In this study, we used transcriptomic analysis to obtain differentially expressed genes in the flavonoid metabolic pathway and metabolomic methods to detect changes in the types and content in the flavonoid metabolic synthesis pathway. The results showed that DEGs were identified in the mature roots vs. leaves comparison (9001 up-regulated and 8910 down-regulated), mature roots vs. stems comparison (5861 up-regulated and 7374 down-regulated), and mature stems vs. leaves comparison (10,837 up-regulated and 11,903 down-regulated). Furthermore, two AiCHS genes and four AiCHI genes were up-regulated in the mature roots vs. stems of mature A. ilicifolius, and were down-regulated in mature stems vs. leaves, which were highly expressed in the A. ilicifolius stems. A total of 215 differential metabolites were found in the roots vs. leaves of mature A. ilicifolius, 173 differential metabolites in the roots vs. stems, and 228 differential metabolites in the stems vs. leaves. The metabolomic results showed that some flavonoids in A. ilicifolius stems were higher than in the roots. A total of 18 flavonoid differential metabolites were detected in the roots, stems, and leaves of mature A. ilicifolius. In mature leaves, quercetin-3-O-glucoside-7-O-rhamnoside, gossypitrin, isoquercitrin, quercetin 3,7-bis-O-β-D-glucoside, and isorhamnetin 3-O-β-(2″-O-acetyl-β-D-glucuronide) were found in a high content, while in mature roots, di-O-methylquercetin and isorhamnetin were the major compounds. The combined analysis of the metabolome and transcriptome revealed that DEGs and differential metabolites were related to flavonoid biosynthesis. This study provides a theoretical basis for analyzing the molecular mechanism of flavonoid synthesis in A. ilicifolius and provides a reference for further research and exploitation of its medicinal value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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14 pages, 3786 KiB  
Article
DNA Barcoding, Phylogenetic Analysis and Secondary Structure Predictions of Nepenthes ampullaria, Nepenthes gracilis and Nepenthes rafflesiana
Genes 2023, 14(3), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14030697 - 11 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1973
Abstract
Nepentheceae, the most prominent carnivorous family in the Caryophyllales order, comprises the Nepenthes genus, which has modified leaf trap characteristics. Although most Nepenthes species have unique morphologies, their vegetative stages are identical, making identification based on morphology difficult. DNA barcoding is seen as [...] Read more.
Nepentheceae, the most prominent carnivorous family in the Caryophyllales order, comprises the Nepenthes genus, which has modified leaf trap characteristics. Although most Nepenthes species have unique morphologies, their vegetative stages are identical, making identification based on morphology difficult. DNA barcoding is seen as a potential tool for plant identification, with small DNA segments amplified for species identification. In this study, three barcode loci; ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase (rbcL), intergenic spacer 1 (ITS1) and intergenic spacer 2 (ITS2) and the usefulness of the ITS1 and ITS2 secondary structure for the molecular identification of Nepenthes species were investigated. An analysis of barcodes was conducted using BLASTn, pairwise genetic distance and diversity, followed by secondary structure prediction. The findings reveal that PCR and sequencing were both 100% successful. The present study showed the successful amplification of all targeted DNA barcodes at different sizes. Among the three barcodes, rbcL was the least efficient as a DNA barcode compared to ITS1 and ITS2. The ITS1 nucleotide analysis revealed that the ITS1 barcode had more variations compared to ITS2. The mean genetic distance (K2P) between them was higher for interspecies compared to intraspecies. The results showed that the DNA barcoding gap existed among Nepenthes species, and differences in the secondary structure distinguish the Nepenthes. The secondary structure generated in this study was found to successfully discriminate between the Nepenthes species, leading to enhanced resolutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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15 pages, 4188 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Analysis of the Chloroplast Genomes of Three Lonicera Medicinal Plants
Genes 2023, 14(3), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14030548 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1337
Abstract
Both Lonicerae japonicae flos and Lonicerae similis flos are important components in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with precious medicinal value. However, the absence of studies on their chloroplast genomes and chromatography has considerably hindered the study of their evolutionary and phylogenetic relationships. In [...] Read more.
Both Lonicerae japonicae flos and Lonicerae similis flos are important components in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with precious medicinal value. However, the absence of studies on their chloroplast genomes and chromatography has considerably hindered the study of their evolutionary and phylogenetic relationships. In this study, the complete chloroplast (cp) genomes of Lonicera acuminata Wall. and Lonicera similis Hemsl. were sequenced using the Illumina sequencing platform and compared with that of Lonicera japonica Thunb., which has been previously reported. Furthermore, the chromatographic fingerprints of the three plants were constructed using HPLC and the content of quality marker (Q-Marker) was calculated. The annotation results showed that the two chloroplast genomes were typical quadripartite structures with lengths of 155,330 bp (L. acuminata) and 155,207 bp (L. similis). A total of 126 different genes were annotated, containing 82 protein-coding genes, 36 tRNA genes, and 8 rRNA genes. The expansion and contraction of the inverted repeat (IR) regions suggested that the boundary regions of IR/SC were comparatively conserved in the three species, and six regions (trnH-GUG-psbA, rps2-rpoC2, rbcL-psaI, trnN-GUU-ndhF, rps15-ycf1, and infA) with nucleotide diversity values (Pi) of variable sites higher than 1% were identified. Phylogenetic relation indicated that L. similis had a closer genetic relationship with L. japonica than L. acuminata. Additionally, the chromatographic fingerprints showed that the characteristic peaks of the three medicinal plants were similar, including Neochlorogenic acid, Chlorogenic acid, 4-Dicaffeoylquinic acid, Sweroside, Secoxyloganin, Luteoloside, Isochlorogenic acid A, Isochlorogenic acid B, and Isochlorogenic acid C. The content of chlorogenic acid and total phenolic acid in L. acuminata (7.4633 ± 0.4461%, 14.8953 ± 0.0728%) and L. similis (14.1055 ± 0.2566%, 21.9782 ± 0.1331%) was much higher than that of L. japonica (3.9729 ± 0.0928%, 6.0964 ± 0.1228%), respectively. This study provides appropriate information for species identification, phylogeny, quality assessment, and rational use of three medicinal plants of the genus Lonicera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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12 pages, 1102 KiB  
Article
Sequence Characterization of ITS Regions of Immortelle Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don from the East Adriatic Coast
Genes 2023, 14(2), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14020480 - 14 Feb 2023
Viewed by 984
Abstract
The immortelle (Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don) is a typical perennial plant of natural vegetation in the Mediterranean region, and due to secondary metabolites with several biological properties (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-proliferative), it has become an important species for essential oil [...] Read more.
The immortelle (Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don) is a typical perennial plant of natural vegetation in the Mediterranean region, and due to secondary metabolites with several biological properties (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-proliferative), it has become an important species for essential oil production, especially in the cosmetic industry. To increase the production of highly priced essential oils, it has been moved to cultivated fields. However, due to the lack of highly characterized planting material, there is a great need for genotype identification, and to provide a link with chemical profiles and geographic origin as a basis for the identification of local superior genotypes. The aims of the study were to characterize the ITS (ribosomal internal transcribed spacer) regions, ITS1 and ITS2, in samples from the East Adriatic region to determine the possibility of using these regions for plant genetic resources identification. Genetic variation was observed when comparing the ITS sequence variants of samples from the North-East Adriatic and the South-East Adriatic. Some rare and unique ITS sequence variants can be helpful for identifying specific populations from different geographical regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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20 pages, 7173 KiB  
Article
Identification of CmbHLH Transcription Factor Family and Excavation of CmbHLHs Resistant to Necrotrophic Fungus Alternaria in Chrysanthemum
Genes 2023, 14(2), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14020275 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat. ‘Huaihuang’ is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant. However, a black spot disease caused by Alternaria sp., a typical necrotrophic fungus, has a serious damaging influence on the field growth, yield, and quality of the plant. ‘Huaiju 2#’ being [...] Read more.
Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat. ‘Huaihuang’ is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant. However, a black spot disease caused by Alternaria sp., a typical necrotrophic fungus, has a serious damaging influence on the field growth, yield, and quality of the plant. ‘Huaiju 2#’ being bred from ‘Huaihuang’, shows resistance to Alternaria sp. bHLH transcription factor has been widely studied because of their functions in growth development, signal transduction, and abiotic stress. However, the function of bHLH in biotic stress has rarely been studied. To characterize the resistance genes, the CmbHLH family was surveyed in ‘Huaiju 2#’. On the basis of the transcriptome database of ‘Huaiju 2#’ after Alternaria sp. inoculation, with the aid of the Chrysanthemum genome database, 71 CmbHLH genes were identified and divided into 17 subfamilies. Most (64.8%) of the CmbHLH proteins were rich in negatively charged amino acids. CmbHLH proteins are generally hydrophilic proteins with a high aliphatic amino acid content. Among the 71 CmbHLH proteins, five CmbHLHs were significantly upregulated by Alternaria sp. infection, and the expression of CmbHLH18 was the most significant. Furthermore, heterologous overexpression of CmbHLH18 could improve the resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana to necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola by enhancing callose deposition, preventing spores from entering leaves, reducing ROS accumulation, increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes and defense enzymes, and promoting their gene expression levels. These results indicate that the five CmbHLHs, especially CmbHLH18, may be considered candidate genes for resistance to necrotrophic fungus. These findings not only increase our understanding of the role CmbHLHs play in biotic stress but also provide a basis by using CmbHLHs to breed a new variety of Chrysanthemum with high resistance to necrotrophic fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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13 pages, 7950 KiB  
Article
The Complete Chloroplast Genome of An Ophiorrhiza baviensis Drake Species Reveals Its Molecular Structure, Comparative, and Phylogenetic Relationships
Genes 2023, 14(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14010227 - 15 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1801
Abstract
Ophiorrhiza baviensis Drake, a flowering medical plant in the Rubiaceae, exists uncertainly within the Ophiorrhiza genus’ evolutionary relationships. For the first time, the whole chloroplast (cp) genome of an O. baviensis Drake species was sequenced and annotated. Our findings demonstrate that the complete [...] Read more.
Ophiorrhiza baviensis Drake, a flowering medical plant in the Rubiaceae, exists uncertainly within the Ophiorrhiza genus’ evolutionary relationships. For the first time, the whole chloroplast (cp) genome of an O. baviensis Drake species was sequenced and annotated. Our findings demonstrate that the complete cp genome of O. baviensis is 154,770 bp in size, encoding a total of 128 genes, including 87 protein-coding genes, 8 rRNAs, and 33 tRNAs. A total of 59 SSRs were screened in the studied cp genome, along with six highly variable loci, which can be applied to generate significant molecular markers for the Ophiorrhiza genus. The comparative analysis of the O. baviensis cp genome with two published others of the Ophiorrhiza genus revealed a high similarity; however, there were some notable gene rearrangements in the O. densa plastome. The maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees were constructed based on the concatenation of the rps16 gene and the trnL-trnF intergenic spacer sequence, indicating a close relationship between the studied O. baviensis and other Ophiorrhiza. This study will provide a theoretical molecular basis for identifying O. baviensis Drake, as well as species of the Ophiorrhiza genus, and contribute to shedding light on the chloroplast genome evolution of Rubiaceae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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12 pages, 2357 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Analysis of CYP450 Family Members in Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don and Profiling of Key CYP450s Related to Isosteroidal Alkaloid Biosynthesis
Genes 2023, 14(1), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14010219 - 14 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1518
Abstract
Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don (known as Chuan-Bei-Mu in Chinese) can synthesize isosteroidal alkaloids (ISA) with excellent medicinal value, and its bulb has become an indispensable ingredient in many patented drugs. Members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) gene superfamily have been shown to play [...] Read more.
Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don (known as Chuan-Bei-Mu in Chinese) can synthesize isosteroidal alkaloids (ISA) with excellent medicinal value, and its bulb has become an indispensable ingredient in many patented drugs. Members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) gene superfamily have been shown to play essential roles in regulating steroidal alkaloids biosynthesis. However, little information is available on the P450s in F. cirrhosa. Here, we performed full-length transcriptome analysis and discovered 48 CYP450 genes belonging to 10 clans, 25 families, and 46 subfamilies. By combining phylogenetic trees, gene expression, and key F. cirrhosa ISA content analysis, we presumably identify seven FcCYP candidate genes, which may be hydroxylases active at the C-22, C-23, or C-26 positions in the late stages of ISA biosynthesis. The transcript expression levels of seven FcCYP candidate genes were positively correlated with the accumulation of three major alkaloids in bulbs of different ages. These data suggest that the candidate genes are most likely to be associated with ISA biosynthesis. Finally, the subcellular localization prediction of FcCYPs and transient expression analysis within Nicotiana benthamiana showed that the FcCYPs were mainly localized in the chloroplast. This study presents a systematic analysis of the CYP450 gene family in F. cirrhosa and provides a foundation for further functional characterization of the CYPs involved in ISA biosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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19 pages, 5929 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification, Characterization, and Expression Analysis of GRAS Gene Family in Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)
Genes 2023, 14(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14010096 - 29 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1792
Abstract
GRAS family proteins are one of the most abundant transcription factors in plants; they play crucial roles in plant development, metabolism, and biotic- and abiotic-stress responses. The GRAS family has been identified and functionally characterized in some plant species. However, this family in [...] Read more.
GRAS family proteins are one of the most abundant transcription factors in plants; they play crucial roles in plant development, metabolism, and biotic- and abiotic-stress responses. The GRAS family has been identified and functionally characterized in some plant species. However, this family in ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), a medicinal crop and non-prescription drug, remains unknown to date. In the present study, 66 GRAS genes were identified by searching the complete genome sequence of ginger. The GRAS family is divided into nine subfamilies based on the phylogenetic analyses. The GRAS genes are distributed unevenly across 11 chromosomes. By analyzing the gene structure and motif distribution of GRAS members in ginger, we found that the GRAS genes have more than one cis-acting element. Chromosomal location and duplication analysis indicated that whole-genome duplication, tandem duplication, and segmental duplication may be responsible for the expansion of the GRAS family in ginger. The expression levels of GRAS family genes are different in ginger roots and stems, indicating that these genes may have an impact on ginger development. In addition, the GRAS genes in ginger showed extensive expression patterns under different abiotic stresses, suggesting that they may play important roles in the stress response. Our study provides a comprehensive analysis of GRAS members in ginger for the first time, which will help to better explore the function of GRAS genes in the regulation of tissue development and response to stress in ginger. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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19 pages, 10398 KiB  
Article
Comparative Gene Enrichment Analysis for Drought Tolerance in Contrasting Maize Genotype
Genes 2023, 14(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14010031 - 22 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Drought stress is a significant abiotic factor influencing maize growth and development. Understanding the molecular mechanism of drought tolerance is critical to develop the drought tolerant genotype. The identification of the stress responsive gene is the first step to developing a drought tolerant [...] Read more.
Drought stress is a significant abiotic factor influencing maize growth and development. Understanding the molecular mechanism of drought tolerance is critical to develop the drought tolerant genotype. The identification of the stress responsive gene is the first step to developing a drought tolerant genotype. The aim of the current research was to pinpoint the genes that are essential for conserved samples in maize drought tolerance. In the current study, inbred lines of maize, 478 and H21, a drought-tolerant and susceptible line, were cultivated in the field and various treatments were applied. The circumstances during the vegetative stage (severe drought, moderate drought and well-watered environments) and RNA sequencing were used to look into their origins. In 478, 68%, 48% and 32% of drought-responsive genes (DRGs) were found, with 63% of DRGs in moderate drought and severe drought conditions in H21, respectively. Gene ontology (GO) keywords were explicitly enriched in the DRGs of H21, which were considerably over-represented in the two lines. According to the results of the GSEA, “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis” was exclusively enriched in H21, but “starch and sucrose metabolism” and “plant hormone signal transduction” were enhanced in both of the two lines. Further investigation found that the various expression patterns of genes linked to the trehalose biosynthesis pathway, reactive oxygen scavenging, and transcription factors, may have a role in maize’s ability to withstand drought. Our findings illuminate the molecular ways that respond to lack and offer gene resources for maize drought resistance. Similarly, SNP and correlation analysis gave us noticeable results that urged us to do the same kind of analysis on other crops. Additionally, we isolated particular transcription factors that could control the expression of genes associated to photosynthesis and leaf senescence. According to our findings, a key factor in tolerance is the equilibrium between the induction of leaf senescence and the preservation of photosynthesis under drought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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16 pages, 3269 KiB  
Article
Population Genetics and Anastomosis Group’s Geographical Distribution of Rhizoctonia solani Associated with Soybean
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2417; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122417 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1772
Abstract
Rhizoctonia solani is a species complex composed of many genetically diverse anastomosis groups (AG) and their subgroups. It causes economically important diseases of soybean worldwide. However, the global genetic diversity and distribution of R. solani AG associated with soybean are unknown to date. [...] Read more.
Rhizoctonia solani is a species complex composed of many genetically diverse anastomosis groups (AG) and their subgroups. It causes economically important diseases of soybean worldwide. However, the global genetic diversity and distribution of R. solani AG associated with soybean are unknown to date. In this study, the global genetic diversity and distribution of AG associated with soybean were investigated based on rDNA-ITS sequences deposited in GenBank and published literature. The most prevalent AG, was AG-1 (40%), followed by AG-2 (19.13%), AG-4 (11.30%), AG-7 (10.43%), AG-11 (8.70%), AG-3 (5.22%) and AG-5 (3.48%). Most of the AG were reported from the USA and Brazil. Sequence analysis of internal transcribed spacers of ribosomal DNA separated AG associated with soybean into two distinct clades. Clade I corresponded to distinct subclades containing AG-2, AG-3, AG-5, AG-7 and AG-11. Clade II corresponded to subclades of AG-1 subgroups. Furthermore, AG and/or AG subgroups were in close proximity without corresponding to their geographical origin. Moreover, AG or AG subgroups within clade or subclades shared higher percentages of sequence similarities. The principal coordinate analysis also supported the phylogenetic and genetic diversity analyses. In conclusion, AG-1, AG-2, and AG-4 were the most prevalent AG in soybean. The clade or subclades corresponded to AG or AG subgroups and did not correspond to the AG’s geographical origin. The information on global genetic diversity and distribution will be helpful if novel management measures are to be developed against soybean diseases caused by R. solani. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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13 pages, 1462 KiB  
Article
DNA Barcoding and ITS2 Secondary Structure Predictions in Taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) from the North Eastern Hill Region of India
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2294; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122294 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott, Araceae), an ancient root and tuber crop, is highly polygenic, polyphyletic, and polygeographic in nature, which leads to its rapid genetic erosion. To prevent the perceived loss of taro diversity, species discrimination and genetic conservation of [...] Read more.
Taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott, Araceae), an ancient root and tuber crop, is highly polygenic, polyphyletic, and polygeographic in nature, which leads to its rapid genetic erosion. To prevent the perceived loss of taro diversity, species discrimination and genetic conservation of promising taro genotypes need special attention. Reports on genetic discrimination of taro at its center of origin are still untapped. We performed DNA barcoding of twenty promising genotypes of taro indigenous to the northeastern hill region of India, deploying two chloroplast-plastid genes, matK and rbcL, and the ribosomal nuclear gene ITS2. The secondary structure of ITS2 was determined and molecular phylogeny was performed to assess genetic discrimination among the taro genotypes. The matK and rbcL genes were highly efficient (>90%) in amplification and sequencing. However, the ITS2 barcode region achieved significant discrimination among the tested taro genotypes. All the taro genotypes displayed most similar sequences at the conserved matK and rbcL loci. However, distinct sequence lengths were observed in the ITS2 barcode region, revealing accurate discriminations among the genotypes. Multiple barcode markers are unrelated to one another and change independently, providing different estimations of heritable traits and genetic lineages; thus, they are advantageous over a single locus in genetic discrimination studies. A dynamic programming algorithm that used base-pairing interactions within a single nucleic acid polymer or between two polymers transformed the secondary structures into the symbol code data to predict seven different minimum free energy secondary structures. Our analysis strengthens the potential of the ITS2 gene as a potent DNA barcode candidate in the prediction of a valuable secondary structure that would help in genetic discrimination between the genotypes while augmenting future breeding strategies in taro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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17 pages, 3807 KiB  
Article
The Complete Chloroplast Genome of Hypoestes forskaolii (Vahl) R.Br: Insights into Comparative and Phylogenetic Analyses within the Tribe Justiceae
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2259; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122259 - 30 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Hypoestes forskaolii is one of the most important species of the family Acanthaceae, known for its high economic and medicinal importance. It is well distributed in the Arab region as well as on the African continent. Previous studies on ethnomedicine have reported that [...] Read more.
Hypoestes forskaolii is one of the most important species of the family Acanthaceae, known for its high economic and medicinal importance. It is well distributed in the Arab region as well as on the African continent. Previous studies on ethnomedicine have reported that H. forskaolii has an anti-parasitic effect as well as antimalarial and anthelmintic activities. Previous studies mainly focused on the ethnomedicinal properties, hence, there is no information on the genomic architecture and phylogenetic positions of the species within the tribe Justiceae. The tribe Justicieae is the most taxonomically difficult taxon in Acanthoideae due to its unresolved infratribal classification. Therefore, by sequencing the complete chloroplast genome (cp genome) of H. forskaolii, we explored the evolutionary patterns of the cp genome and reconstructed the phylogeny of Justiceae. The cp genome is quadripartite and circular in structure and has a length of 151,142 bp. There are 130 genes (86 coding for protein, 36 coding for tRNA and 8 coding for rRNA) present in the plastome. Analyses of long repeats showed only three types of repeats: forward, palindromic and reverse were present in the genome. Microsatellites analysis revealed 134 microsatellites in the cp genome with mononucleotides having the highest frequency. Comparative analyses within Justiceae showed that genomes structure and gene contents were highly conserved but there is a slight distinction in the location of the genes in the inverted repeat and single copy junctions. Additionally, it was discovered that the cp genome includes variable hotspots that can be utilized as DNA barcodes and tools for determining evolutionary relationships in the Justiceae. These regions include: atpH-atpI, trnK-rps16, atpB-rbcL, trnT-trnL, psbI-trnS, matK, trnH-psbA, and ndhD. The Bayesian inference phylogenetic tree showed that H. forskaolii is a sister to the Dicliptra clade and belongs to Diclipterinae. The result also confirms the polyphyly of Justicia and inclusion of Diclipterinae within justicioid. This research has revealed the phylogenetic position of H. forskaolii and also reported the resources that can be used for evolutionary and phylogenetic studies of the species and the Justicieae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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16 pages, 2823 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Level Reveals the Triterpenoid Saponin Biosynthesis Pathway of Bupleurum falcatum L.
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2237; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122237 - 29 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1750
Abstract
Bupleurum falcatum L. is frequently used in traditional herbal medicine in Asia. Saikosaponins (SSs) are the main bioactive ingredients of B. falcatum, but the biosynthetic pathway of SSs is unclear, and the biosynthesis of species-specific phytometabolites is little known. Here we resolved the [...] Read more.
Bupleurum falcatum L. is frequently used in traditional herbal medicine in Asia. Saikosaponins (SSs) are the main bioactive ingredients of B. falcatum, but the biosynthetic pathway of SSs is unclear, and the biosynthesis of species-specific phytometabolites is little known. Here we resolved the transcriptome profiles of B. falcatum to identify candidate genes that might be involved in the biosynthesis of SSs. By isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) analyses of the whole plant, a total of 26.98 Gb of nucleotides were obtained and 124,188 unigenes were identified, and 81,594 unigenes were successfully annotated. A total of 1033 unigenes of 20 families related to the mevalonate (MVA) pathway and methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway of the SS biosynthetic pathway were identified. The WGCNA (weighted gene co-expression network analysis) of these unigenes revealed that only the co-expression module of MEmagenta, which contained 343 unigenes, was highly correlated with the biosynthesis of SSs. Comparing differentially expressed gene analysis and the WGCNA indicated that 130 out of 343 genes of the MEmagenta module exhibited differential expression levels, and genes with the most “hubness” within this module were predicted. Manipulation of these genes might improve the biosynthesis of SSs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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14 pages, 2230 KiB  
Article
Interplay of Ecological Opportunities and Functional Traits Drives the Evolution and Diversification of Millettiod Legumes (Fabaceae)
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122220 - 27 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Understanding the striking diversity of the angiosperms is a paramount issue in biology and of interest to biologists. The Millettiod legumes is one of the most hyper-diverse groups of the legume family, containing many economically important medicine, furniture and craft species. In the [...] Read more.
Understanding the striking diversity of the angiosperms is a paramount issue in biology and of interest to biologists. The Millettiod legumes is one of the most hyper-diverse groups of the legume family, containing many economically important medicine, furniture and craft species. In the present study, we explore how the interplay of past climate change, ecological opportunities and functional traits’ evolution may have triggered diversification of the Millettiod legumes. Using a comprehensive species-level phylogeny from three plastid markers, we estimate divergence times, infer habit shifts, test the phylogenetic and temporal diversification heterogeneity, and reconstruct ancestral biogeographical ranges. We found that three dramatic accumulations of the Millettiod legumes occurred during the Miocene. The rapid diversification of the Millettiod legumes in the Miocene was driven by ecological opportunities created by the emergence of new niches and range expansion. Additionally, habit shifts and the switch between biomes might have facilitated the rapid diversification of the Millettiod legumes. The Millettiod legumes provide an excellent case for supporting the idea that the interplay of functional traits, biomes, and climatic and geographic factors drives evolutionary success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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15 pages, 1691 KiB  
Article
Characterization of the Evolutionary Pressure on Anisodus tanguticus Maxim. with Complete Chloroplast Genome Sequence
Genes 2022, 13(11), 2125; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13112125 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1320
Abstract
Anisodus tanguticus Maxim. (Solanaceae), a traditional endangered Tibetan herb, is endemic to the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Here, we report the de novo assembled chloroplast (cp) genome sequences of A. tanguticus (155,765 bp). The cp contains a pair of inverted repeated (IRa and IRb) regions [...] Read more.
Anisodus tanguticus Maxim. (Solanaceae), a traditional endangered Tibetan herb, is endemic to the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Here, we report the de novo assembled chloroplast (cp) genome sequences of A. tanguticus (155,765 bp). The cp contains a pair of inverted repeated (IRa and IRb) regions of 25,881 bp that are separated by a large single copy (LSC) region (86,516 bp) and a small single copy SSC (17,487 bp) region. A total of 132 functional genes were annotated in the cp genome, including 87 protein-coding genes, 37 tRNA genes, and 8 rRNA genes. Moreover, 199 simple sequence repeats (SSR) and 65 repeat structures were detected. Comparative plastome analyses revealed a conserved gene order and high similarity of protein-coding sequences. The A. tanguticus cp genome exhibits contraction and expansion, which differs from Przewalskia tangutica and other related Solanaceae species. We identified 30 highly polymorphic regions, mostly belonging to intergenic spacer regions (IGS), which may be suitable for the development of robust and cost-effective markers for inferring the phylogeny of the genus Anisodus and family Solanaceae. Analysis of the Ka/Ks ratios of the Hyoscyameae tribe revealed significant positive selection exerted on the cemA, rpoC2, and clpP genes, which suggests that protein metabolism may be an important strategy for A. tanguticus and other species in Hyoscyameae in adapting to the adverse environment on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that A. tanguticus clustered closer with Hyoscyamus niger than P. tangutica. Our results provide reliable genetic information for future exploration of the taxonomy and phylogenetic evolution of the Hyoscyameae tribe and related species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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11 pages, 3099 KiB  
Article
Potential of In Vitro Culture of Scutellaria baicalensis in the Formation of Genetic Variation Confirmed by ScoT Markers
Genes 2022, 13(11), 2114; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13112114 - 14 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1342
Abstract
The in vitro culture technique can be used for micropropagation of medicinal plants as well as for creating genotypes with an improved profile of phytochemical compounds. For this purpose, somaclonal variability may be used for the induction of genetic diversity among regenerants. The [...] Read more.
The in vitro culture technique can be used for micropropagation of medicinal plants as well as for creating genotypes with an improved profile of phytochemical compounds. For this purpose, somaclonal variability may be used for the induction of genetic diversity among regenerants. The paper presents a protocol for obtaining Scutellaria baicalensis regenerants by indirect organogenesis and the assessment of their genetic variability with the use of start codon-targeted markers. The most intense process of indirect shoot organogenesis was observed on Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with kinetin and 6-Benzylaminopurine (0.5 mg × dm−3 each)—7.4 shoot per explant on average. The callogenesis process occurred on the medium supplemented with TDZ, while the medium supplemented with GA3 allowed for direct shoot organogenesis and was used for the micropropagation of regenerants. In the analysis of plantlets obtained by indirect organogenesis, 11 ScoT markers generated a total of 130 amplicons, 45 of which were polymorphic. This analysis showed genetic diversity of regenerants in relation to the donor plant as well as within them, with mean similarity among the analyzed genotypes at the level of 0.90. This study confirms that the use of in vitro cultures allows for the possibility to generate genetic variability in Scutellaria baicalensis, which can be effectively revealed with the use of the SCoT marker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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15 pages, 4106 KiB  
Article
Population Diversity Analysis Provide Insights into Provenance Identification of Dendrobium catenatum
Genes 2022, 13(11), 2093; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13112093 - 10 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1217
Abstract
Dendrobium catenatum (Dendrobium officinale) is a valuable genuine herb. The source of this species is difficult to be identified by traditional methods including morphology, spectroscopy, and chromatography. We used the restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) approach to perform the high-throughput sequencing [...] Read more.
Dendrobium catenatum (Dendrobium officinale) is a valuable genuine herb. The source of this species is difficult to be identified by traditional methods including morphology, spectroscopy, and chromatography. We used the restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) approach to perform the high-throughput sequencing of 24 D. catenatum provenances. In this study, 371.18 Gb clean data were obtained, and 655,057 high-quality SNPs were selected after their filtration. We used phylogenetic tree, genetic structure, and principal component analyses to examine the genetic diversities and genetic relationships of the 109 accessions. We found that D. catenatum could be divided into two groups, and each group was closely related to the distribution of the sampling sites. At the population level, the average nucleotide diversity (π) of the D. catenatum population mutation parameters was 0.1584 and the expected heterozygosity (HE) was 0.1575. The GXLPTP07 accessions showed the highest genetic diversity in terms of the private allele number, observed heterozygosity, and nucleotide diversity. The Mantel test showed a significant positive correlation between the genetic and geographic distances among the overall distribution. A genetic information database of D. catenatum was established, which confirmed that RAD-seq technology has the potential to be applied in the identification of medicinal Dendrobium of different origins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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15 pages, 1952 KiB  
Article
Molecular Characterization of Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers Using Novel g-SSR Markers and Their Comparison with EST-SSR and SCoT Markers for Genetic Diversity Study
Genes 2022, 13(11), 2042; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13112042 - 05 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1570
Abstract
In the present study, novel genomic-SSR (g-SSR) markers generated in our laboratory were used to characterize Tinospora cordifolia and related species. The g-SSR marker was also compared with EST-SSR and SCoT markers used earlier in our laboratory to assess the genetic diversity of [...] Read more.
In the present study, novel genomic-SSR (g-SSR) markers generated in our laboratory were used to characterize Tinospora cordifolia and related species. The g-SSR marker was also compared with EST-SSR and SCoT markers used earlier in our laboratory to assess the genetic diversity of T. cordifolia. A total of 26 accessions of T. cordifolia and 1 accession each of Tinospora rumphii and Tinospora sinensis were characterized using 65 novel g-SSR markers. A total of 125 alleles were detected with 49 polymorphic g-SSR markers. The number of alleles per locus varied from 1–4 with a mean value of 2.55 alleles per locus. Mean PIC, gene diversity, and heterozygosity were estimated to be 0.33, 0.41, and 0.65, respectively. The two species, namely T. rumphii and T. sinensis, showed cross-species transferability of g-SSRs developed in T. cordifolia. The success rate of cross-species transferability in T. rumphii was 95.3% and 93.8% in T. sinensis, proving the usefulness of this marker in genetic diversity studies of related species. The Tinospora accessions were also used for molecular characterization using SCoT and EST-SSR markers and compared for genetic diversity and cross-species transferability. The PIC, gene diversity, heterozygosity, and principal coordinate analysis showed that g-SSR is the better maker for a genetic diversity study of T. cordifolia. Additionally, high cross-species transferability of g-SSRs was found (95.3% and 93.8%) compared to EST-SSRs (68.8% and 67.7%) in T. rumphii and T. sinensis, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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19 pages, 2810 KiB  
Article
Systematic Identification and Validation of Suitable Reference Genes for the Normalization of Gene Expression in Prunella vulgaris under Different Organs and Spike Development Stages
Genes 2022, 13(11), 1947; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13111947 - 25 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1503
Abstract
The quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is an efficient and sensitive method for determining gene expression levels, but the accuracy of the results substantially depends on the stability of the reference gene (RG). Therefore, choosing an appropriate reference gene is a critical step in [...] Read more.
The quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is an efficient and sensitive method for determining gene expression levels, but the accuracy of the results substantially depends on the stability of the reference gene (RG). Therefore, choosing an appropriate reference gene is a critical step in normalizing qRT-PCR data. Prunella vulgaris L. is a traditional Chinese medicine herb widely used in China. Its main medicinal part is the fruiting spike which is termed Spica Prunellae. However, thus far, few studies have been conducted on the mechanism of Spica Prunellae development. Meanwhile, no reliable RGs have been reported in P. vulgaris. The expression levels of 14 candidate RGs were analyzed in this study in various organs and at different stages of Spica Prunellae development. Four statistical algorithms (Delta Ct, BestKeeper, NormFinder, and geNorm) were utilized to identify the RGs’ stability, and an integrated stability rating was generated via the RefFinder website online. The final ranking results revealed that eIF-2 was the most stable RG, whereas VAB2 was the least suitable as an RG. Furthermore, eIF-2 + Histon3.3 was identified as the best RG combination in different periods and the total samples. Finally, the expressions of the PvTAT and Pv4CL2 genes related to the regulation of rosmarinic acid synthesis in different organs were used to verify the stable and unstable RGs. The stable RGs in P. vulgaris were originally identified and verified in this work. This achievement provides strong support for obtaining a reliable qPCR analysis and lays the foundation for in-depth research on the developmental mechanism of Spica Prunellae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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16 pages, 4281 KiB  
Article
Phylogenetic Analysis Based on DNA Barcoding and Genetic Diversity Assessment of Morinda officinalis How in Vietnam Inferred by Microsatellites
Genes 2022, 13(11), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13111938 - 25 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1695
Abstract
Morinda officinalis How is well-known as a valuable medicinal plant found in some regions of Vietnam. This species is mainly used for treating male impotence, irregular menstruation, and rheumatoid arthritis. This study aimed to identify the species of and genetic diversity in three [...] Read more.
Morinda officinalis How is well-known as a valuable medicinal plant found in some regions of Vietnam. This species is mainly used for treating male impotence, irregular menstruation, and rheumatoid arthritis. This study aimed to identify the species of and genetic diversity in three M. officinalis populations: one each in Quang Binh (QB), Thua Thien Hue (TTH), and Quang Nam (QN). In this study, four DNA barcoding markers (ITS1, ITS2, matK, and rbcL) were used to identify the species and 22 microsatellite markers were applied for population structure and diversity analyses. The results showed that the sequences of gene regions studied in M. officinalis had a high similarity (>95%) to the ITS1, ITS2, matK, and rbcL sequences of M. officinalis on BLAST. Of the four DNA barcoding markers used, ITS1 and ITS2 showed higher efficiency in DNA amplification of M. officinalis. From this study, 27 GenBank codes were published on BLAST. The results also revealed high levels of genetic diversity in populations. The average observed and expected heterozygosity values were HO = 0.513 and HE = 0.612, respectively. The average FST value was 0.206. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed 70% variation within populations and 30% among populations. The population structure of M. officinalis inferred in STRUCTURE revealed that the optimum number of genetic groups for the admixture model was K = 2. These findings provided vital background information for future studies in the conservation of M. officinalis in both ex situ and in situ plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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18 pages, 1565 KiB  
Article
Integrated Metabolite and Transcriptome Profiling-Mediated Gene Mining of Sida cordifolia Reveals Medicinally Important Genes
Genes 2022, 13(10), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13101909 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1814
Abstract
Sida cordifolia is a medicinal shrub that is conventionally used in the Indian system of medicine;however, the genes contributing to its medicinal properties have been minimally explored, thus limiting its application. High-throughputsequencing and Liquid Chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry(LC-MS/MS) technologies were applied to [...] Read more.
Sida cordifolia is a medicinal shrub that is conventionally used in the Indian system of medicine;however, the genes contributing to its medicinal properties have been minimally explored, thus limiting its application. High-throughputsequencing and Liquid Chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry(LC-MS/MS) technologies were applied to unravel the medicinally important bioactive compounds. As a result, transcriptomic sequencing generated more than 12 GB of clean data, and 187,215 transcripts were obtained by de novoassembly. These transcripts were broadly classified into 20 classes, based on the gene ontology classification, and 6551 unigenes were annotated using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database with more than 142 unigenes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. LC-MS/MS analysis of three tissues of Sida cordifolia revealed that acacetin and procyanidin are some important metabolites identified thatcontribute to its medicinal value. Several key enzymes witha crucial role in phenylpropanoid and flavonoid biosynthetic pathways were identified, especially phenylalanine ammonia lyase, which might be an important rate-limiting enzyme. Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed enzymes, such as Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase 1 (CAD), Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1 (CF1) and Trans cinnamate 4-monooxygenase(TCM), which were predominantly expressed in root compared to leaf and stem tissue. The study provides a speculative insight for the screening of active metabolites and metabolic engineering in Sida cordifolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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11 pages, 2393 KiB  
Article
Establishment of an Efficient In Vitro Propagation of Cnidium officinale Makino and Selection of Superior Clones through Flow Cytometric Assessment of DNA Content
Genes 2022, 13(10), 1815; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13101815 - 08 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1186
Abstract
Cnidium officinale is a valuable medicinal plant cultivated in Asia for its rhizomes. This study reports the in vitro regeneration of Cnidium officinale plants and the induction of rhizomes from microshoots. The rhizomatous buds of Cnidium officinale induced multiple shoots on Murashige and [...] Read more.
Cnidium officinale is a valuable medicinal plant cultivated in Asia for its rhizomes. This study reports the in vitro regeneration of Cnidium officinale plants and the induction of rhizomes from microshoots. The rhizomatous buds of Cnidium officinale induced multiple shoots on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 0.5 mg L−1 BA, which led to the regeneration of plants within four weeks of culture. After four weeks of culture, the plants were assessed for fresh weight, the number of leaves, the number of roots, and the length of roots to compare the performance of the different clones. The clones with good growth characteristics were selected with the aid of a flow cytometric analysis of 2C nuclear DNA content. The plants bearing high DNA values showed better growth characteristics. Various factors, namely, sucrose concentration (30, 50, 70, and 90 g L−1), ABA (0, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg L−1), the synergistic effects of BA (1.0 mg L−1) + NAA (0.5 mg L−1) and BA (1.0 mg L−1) + NAA (0.5 mg L−1) + ABA (1.0 mg L−1) with or without activated charcoal (1 g L−1), and light and dark incubation were tested on rhizome formation from microshoots. The results of the above experiments suggest that MS medium supplemented with 50 g L−1 sucrose, 1.0 mg L−1 ABA, and 1 g L−1 AC is good for the induction of rhizomes from the shoots of Cnidium officinale. Plantlets with rhizomes were successfully transferred to pots, and they showed 100% survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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14 pages, 2696 KiB  
Article
Identification and Registration for High-Yielding Strain through ST and MLT of Curcuma caesia Roxb. (Jor Lab KH-2): A High-Value Medicinal Plant
Genes 2022, 13(10), 1807; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13101807 - 06 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1365
Abstract
(1) Background: Curcuma caesia Roxb. is a high valued crop which is extensively used in pharmaceuticals, flavour and fragrances. C. caesia is recognised as an endangered species due to its extensive collection from the wild through human intervention. Therefore, to prevent the species [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Curcuma caesia Roxb. is a high valued crop which is extensively used in pharmaceuticals, flavour and fragrances. C. caesia is recognised as an endangered species due to its extensive collection from the wild through human intervention. Therefore, to prevent the species from extinction, it is very necessary to conserve and cultivate this plant species for the sustainable availability of the raw material. (2) Methods: In the present plant breeding programme, a multi-year study was performed for the identification of superior genotypes which will help in conservation. To fulfil this objective, a total of 135 accessions of C. caesia were collected from different regions of India and were set up for experimental selection trial for three years (2016–2018). After proper evaluation of the genotypes based on six agronomical traits, five high-yielding genotypes were identified which underwent multilocation trial for two years (2019 and 2020). The stability analysis using the Eberhart–Russell method, AMMI and GGE biplot were used to study the consistency of the genotypes in varied environments compared with the check variety. (3) Results: Analysis of variance indicated significant genotype and environment interaction for the yield traits, i.e., dry rhizome recovery, rhizome yield and essential oil yield. The coefficient of variation (CV) was highest for tillers per plant (21.76) and lowest for the plant height (4.93). All the results clearly demonstrated Jor Lab KH-2 as the highest yielding and stable genotype in varied environments compared with the check variety and other selected genotypes. (4) Conclusions: This genotype was then submitted to ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi, for germplasm registration and received its confirmation vide registration number INGR 21159. This genotype will greatly benefit the breeders and will also help in the conservation of this endangered species. This is the first report on the identification and registration of a high-yielding variety of C. caesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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14 pages, 2638 KiB  
Article
Identification, Phylogeny, Divergence, Structure, and Expression Analysis of A20/AN1 Zinc Finger Domain Containing Stress-Associated Proteins (SAPs) Genes in Jatropha curcas L.
Genes 2022, 13(10), 1766; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13101766 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1610
Abstract
Jatropha is a small woody perennial biofuel-producing shrub. Stress-associated proteins (SAPs) are novel stress regulatory zinc-finger proteins and are mainly associated with tolerance against various environmental abiotic stresses in Jatropha. In the present study, the JcSAP gene family were analyzed comprehensively [...] Read more.
Jatropha is a small woody perennial biofuel-producing shrub. Stress-associated proteins (SAPs) are novel stress regulatory zinc-finger proteins and are mainly associated with tolerance against various environmental abiotic stresses in Jatropha. In the present study, the JcSAP gene family were analyzed comprehensively in Jatropha curcas and 11 JcSAP genes were identified. Phylogenetic analysis classified the JcSAP genes into four groups based on sequence similarity, similar gene structure features, conserved A20 and/or AN1 domains, and their responsive motifs. Moreover, the divergence analysis further evaluated the evolutionary aspects of the JcSAP genes with the predicted time of divergence from 9.1 to 40 MYA. Furthermore, a diverse range of cis-elements including light-responsive elements, hormone-responsive elements, and stress-responsive elements were detected in the promoter region of JcSAP genes while the miRNA target sites predicted the regulation of JcSAP genes via a candid miRNA mediated post-transcriptional regulatory network. In addition, the expression profiles of JcSAP genes in different tissues under stress treatment indicated that many JcSAP genes play functional developmental roles in different tissues, and exhibit significant differential expression under stress treatment. These results collectively laid a foundation for the functional diversification of JcSAP genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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12 pages, 2241 KiB  
Article
Molecular Phylogeny, DNA Barcoding, and ITS2 Secondary Structure Predictions in the Medicinally Important Eryngium Genotypes of East Coast Region of India
Genes 2022, 13(9), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13091678 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2769
Abstract
Commercial interest in the culinary herb, Eryngium foetidum L., has increased worldwide due to its typical pungency, similar to coriander or cilantro, with immense pharmaceutical components. The molecular delimitation and taxonomic classification of this lesser-known medicinal plant are restricted to conventional phenotyping and [...] Read more.
Commercial interest in the culinary herb, Eryngium foetidum L., has increased worldwide due to its typical pungency, similar to coriander or cilantro, with immense pharmaceutical components. The molecular delimitation and taxonomic classification of this lesser-known medicinal plant are restricted to conventional phenotyping and DNA-based marker evaluation, which hinders accurate identification, genetic conservation, and safe utilization. This study focused on species discrimination using DNA sequencing with chloroplast–plastid genes (matK, Kim matK, and rbcL) and the nuclear ITS2 gene in two Eryngium genotypes collected from the east coast region of India. The results revealed that matK discriminated between two genotypes, however, Kim matK, rbcL, and ITS2 identified these genotypes as E. foetidum. The ribosomal nuclear ITS2 region exhibited significant inter- and intra-specific divergence, depicted in the DNA barcodes and the secondary structures derived based on the minimum free energy. Although the efficiency of matK genes is better in species discrimination, ITS2 demonstrated polyphyletic phylogeny, and could be used as a reliable marker for genetic divergence studies understanding the mechanisms of RNA molecules. The results of this study provide insights into the scientific basis of species identification, genetic conservation, and safe utilization of this important medicinal plant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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18 pages, 4120 KiB  
Article
Complete Chloroplast Genomes of 14 Subspecies of D. glomerata: Phylogenetic and Comparative Genomic Analyses
Genes 2022, 13(9), 1621; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13091621 - 09 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) is a species in the Gramineae family that is highly important economically and valued for its role in ecology. However, the phylogeny and taxonomy of D. glomerata are still controversial based on current morphological and molecular evidence. The [...] Read more.
Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) is a species in the Gramineae family that is highly important economically and valued for its role in ecology. However, the phylogeny and taxonomy of D. glomerata are still controversial based on current morphological and molecular evidence. The study of chloroplast (cp) genomes has developed into a powerful tool to develop molecular markers for related species and reveal the relationships between plant evolution and phylogenetics. In this study, we conducted comparative genomic analyses and phylogenetic inferences on 14 cp genomes of D. glomerata originating from the Mediterranean and Eurasia. The genome size ranged from 134,375 bp to 134,993 bp and exhibited synteny of gene organization and order. A total of 129–131 genes were identified, including 85–87 protein coding genes, 38 tRNA genes and 8 rRNA genes. The cp sequences were highly conserved, and key sequence variations were detected at the junctions of inverted repeats (IRs)/small single–copy (SSC) regions. Moreover, nine highly variable regions were identified among the subspecies based on a sequence divergence analysis. A total of 285 RNA editing sites were detected that were relevant to 52 genes, where rpoB exhibited the most abundant RNA editing sites. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that all Dactylis subspecies clustered into a monophyletic group and most branches provided a high support bootstrap. The main divergence time of D. glomerata was dated to the Miocene era, and this could have been due to changes in the climate. These findings will provide useful insights for further studies on phylogeny, the identification of subspecies and the development of hypotheses for the evolutionary history of the genus Dactylis and of the Gramineae family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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Review

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34 pages, 21165 KiB  
Review
The Systematics, Reproductive Biology, Biochemistry, and Breeding of Sea Buckthorn—A Review
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2120; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122120 - 24 Nov 2023
Viewed by 940
Abstract
Both the fruit flesh and seeds of sea buckthorn have multiple uses for medicinal and culinary purposes, including the valuable market for supplementary health foods. Bioactive compounds, such as essential amino acids, vitamins B, C, and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, ursolic acid, unsaturated fatty [...] Read more.
Both the fruit flesh and seeds of sea buckthorn have multiple uses for medicinal and culinary purposes, including the valuable market for supplementary health foods. Bioactive compounds, such as essential amino acids, vitamins B, C, and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, ursolic acid, unsaturated fatty acids, and other active substances, are now being analyzed in detail for their medicinal properties. Domestication with commercial orchards and processing plants is undertaken in many countries, but there is a large need for improved plant material with high yield, tolerance to environmental stress, diseases, and pests, suitability for efficient harvesting methods, and high contents of compounds that have medicinal and/or culinary values. Applied breeding is based mainly on directed crosses between different subspecies of Hippophae rhamnoides. DNA markers have been applied to analyses of systematics and population genetics as well as for the discrimination of cultivars, but very few DNA markers have as yet been developed for use in selection and breeding. Several key genes in important metabolic pathways have, however, been identified, and four genomes have recently been sequenced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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24 pages, 1555 KiB  
Review
On the Future Perspectives of Some Medicinal Plants within Lamiaceae Botanic Family Regarding Their Comprehensive Properties and Resistance against Biotic and Abiotic Stresses
Genes 2023, 14(5), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14050955 - 22 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1532
Abstract
Lamiaceae is one of the largest botanical families, encompassing over 6000 species that include a variety of aromatic and medicinal spices. The current study is focused on three plants within this botanical family: basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), [...] Read more.
Lamiaceae is one of the largest botanical families, encompassing over 6000 species that include a variety of aromatic and medicinal spices. The current study is focused on three plants within this botanical family: basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), and summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.). These three species contain primary and secondary metabolites such as phenolic and flavonoid compounds, fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential oils and have traditionally been used for flavoring, food preservation, and medicinal purposes. The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the nutraceutical, therapeutic, antioxidant, and antibacterial key features of these three aromatics to explore new breeding challenges and opportunities for varietal development. In this context, a literature search has been performed to describe the phytochemical profile of both primary and secondary metabolites and their pharmacological uses, as well as to further explore accession availability in the medicine industry and also to emphasize their bioactive roles in plant ecology and biotic and abiotic stress adaptability. The aim of this review is to explore future perspectives on the development of new, highly valuable basil, summer savory, and thyme cultivars. The findings of the current review emphasize the importance of identifying the key compounds and genes involved in stress resistance that can also provide valuable insights for further improvement of these important medicinal plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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20 pages, 2646 KiB  
Review
Glucomannan in Dendrobium catenatum: Bioactivities, Biosynthesis and Perspective
Genes 2022, 13(11), 1957; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13111957 - 27 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2055
Abstract
Dendrobium catenatum is a classical and precious dual-use plant for both medicine and food in China. It was first recorded in Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic, and has the traditional functions of nourishing yin, antipyresis, tonifying the stomach, and promoting fluid production. The [...] Read more.
Dendrobium catenatum is a classical and precious dual-use plant for both medicine and food in China. It was first recorded in Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic, and has the traditional functions of nourishing yin, antipyresis, tonifying the stomach, and promoting fluid production. The stem is its medicinal part and is rich in active polysaccharide glucomannan. As an excellent dietary fiber, glucomannan has been experimentally confirmed to be involved in anti-cancer, enhancing immunity, lowering blood sugar and blood lipids, etc. Here, the status quo of the D. catenatum industry, the structure, bioactivities, biosynthesis pathway and key genes of glucomannan are systematically described to provide a crucial foundation and theoretical basis for understanding the value of D. catenatum and the potential application of glucomannan in crop biofortification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics, Genetics, and Breeding of Medicinal Plants)
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