Research Article

Molecular DNA identification of medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Malaysia

Published: December 07, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 15937-15947 DOI: 10.4238/2015.December.7.5

Abstract

Plants have been used throughout human history for food and medicine. However, many plants are toxic, and cannot easily be morphologically distinguished from non-toxic plants. DNA identification solves this problem and is widely used. Nonetheless, plant DNA barcode identification faces a number of challenges, and many studies have been conducted to find suitable barcodes. The present study was conducted to test the efficiency of commonly used primers, namely ITS2, rpoC1, and trnH-psbA, in order to find the best DNA barcode markers for the identification of medicinal plants in Malaysia. Fresh leaves from 12 medicinal plants that are commonly used by Malay traditional healers were collected from the Tropical Spice Garden, Pulau Pinang, and subjected to polymerase chain reaction amplification using ITS2, rpoC1, and trnH-psbA DNA markers. We found that trnH-psbA is the best DNA marker for the species-level identification of medicinal plants in Malaysia.

Plants have been used throughout human history for food and medicine. However, many plants are toxic, and cannot easily be morphologically distinguished from non-toxic plants. DNA identification solves this problem and is widely used. Nonetheless, plant DNA barcode identification faces a number of challenges, and many studies have been conducted to find suitable barcodes. The present study was conducted to test the efficiency of commonly used primers, namely ITS2, rpoC1, and trnH-psbA, in order to find the best DNA barcode markers for the identification of medicinal plants in Malaysia. Fresh leaves from 12 medicinal plants that are commonly used by Malay traditional healers were collected from the Tropical Spice Garden, Pulau Pinang, and subjected to polymerase chain reaction amplification using ITS2, rpoC1, and trnH-psbA DNA markers. We found that trnH-psbA is the best DNA marker for the species-level identification of medicinal plants in Malaysia.

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