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CSIR Succeeds in Whole Genome Sequencing Basil (Tulsi)
Jun 15, 2015

CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), Lucknow, has published whole genome sequence of Ocimum sanctum, the wonder plant ‘Holy basil’ or ‘Tulsi’.

Key Findings

  • This is the first report of complete genome sequence of a traditional and most respected medicinal plant of India, using a composite next generation sequencing technologies. 

  • Considering the metabolic and therapeutic potential of this revered plant, the availability of whole genome sequence is the first step to understand and unravel the secrets of basil plant and to provide scientific validity to the traditional claims of its utility in diverse medicinal usage. 

  • Being the most popular household plant in India, basil is traditionally used for the cure of several ailments. It is used in the preparations to cure various diseases like bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhoea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, insect bite etc.

  • Basil is rich in phenylpropanoids, terpenoids and their derivatives, and many of these are implicated for different therapeutic activities. 

  • The availability of the genome sequence now opens the possibility to identify genes involved in producing therapeutic molecules and to produce them in vitro. 

  • This will also facilitate identification of not yet identified genes involved in the synthesis of important secondary metabolites in this plant. 

  • Specific pathway related genes identified or mined in this genome could be used for the production of secondary metabolites following synthetic biology approaches. 

  • The development of molecular tools and genomic resources will accelerate molecular breeding and ultimately the utility of Holy basil in medical community. 

  • Whole genome sequencing is a laboratory based process that determines the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome at a single time.


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