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Targeted and non-targeted mutagenesis of metabolic pathways in medicinal plants and herbs

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Plants have evolved a plethora of chemical solutions to help them cope with dynamic biotic and abiotic environments, and much of this diversity was used throughout human history for medicinal and hedonistic purposes (seasoning, preservatives, etc.). Despite the enormous progress made in the last decade in elucidating the genes and enzymes involved in these metabolic pathways using classical biochemical approaches and biochemical genomic methods, very few studies applied targeted and non-targeted mutagenesis for isolating novel genes to study their hitherto unknown function. This minireview will discuss recent examples of forward and reverse genetics approaches taken in some medicinal plants and herbs, and will present data that we obtained from an ethylmethane sulfate mutagenesis project in Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil), aiming to identify new genes that are involved in the biosynthesis of aroma compounds.

Affiliations: 1: Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 2: Department of Biotechnology Research, Kazusa DNA Research Institute


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