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Genotypic successfully sequences turmeric using NGS, proves anticancer, anti malarial properties

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Saturday, April 13, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Genotypic Technology which successfully concluded the sequence of turmeric has now reported the finding of novel genes known for anticancer, anti-malarial and anti-oxidant properties. The country's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), recognised R&D unit which utilised the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to carry out the study of  transcriptome assembly of turmeric or Curcuma longa.

The 15-year-old ISO 9001:2008 endorsed company and India’s first Agilent and Ion Torrent Certified Service provider (CSP) has been engaged in customized genomics and bioinformatics solutions for applications in healthcare, agri-bio, academic research and biopharmaceuticals globally and nationally.

In its latest research, Genotypic  analyzed and annotated C. longa transcriptome from the rhizomes of three popularly cultivated cultivars in South India:  Cultivar Nattu, a traditional small rhizomes, cultivar Erode which is a commercial variety with larger rhizomes and cultivar Mysore that provides higher yields. Its molecular biologists and bio-informatics team maximised the NGS machines: Ion Proton, Ion Torrent, Illumina and SOLiD which helped to assemble and functionally annotate the transcriptome of all cultivar varieties of the C.longa.

The study was published in Plos One, a peer-reviewed, open access journal.  “Understanding the turmeric genome is relevant in the context of its importance attributed to anti cancer and anti malarial properties.  The highlight of this study is that an Indian company has been able to complete the research when countries like China and US have also been interested in the properties of turmeric,” said Dr Annadurai Ramasamy, research director, Genotypic Technology and lead author of the submitted paper.

The research brings out for the first time novel genes related to anticancer, anti-malarial and anti-oxidant properties. Proper validation of the results at biochemical, cellular and animal model studies will certainly highlight more useful properties of turmeric in traditional and alternative medicine, Dr Sudha N Rao, COO, Genotypic Technology told Pharmabiz in an email interaction.

“The duration of research spanned six months and this project was completely funded by the company’s internal resources. We envision lot many impactful research coming out of our in-house R&D in the future,” she added.

In the current study, pathway annotation revealed the presence of several vital secondary metabolite pathways which synthesize compounds with diverse medicinal properties. Analysis indicated the presence of compounds with anti-cancer (taxol, matairesinol), anti-oxidant(flavonoids), antimalarial (acridone alkaloids, artemisinin), pesticidal(Benzoxazinoids) and antibiotic (hypericin) properties. “This research has provided a major impetus for further study in turmeric’s various beneficial properties. In fact, some of the observations go to show how hitherto unknown genes found in this plant related to taxol biosynthetic pathway, vincristine, vinblastine synthesis pathways etc. can be valuable for anti-cancer properties. Now, we hope to extend our collaborations with CSIR, DBT, DST, ICMR and other educational institutions to sequence other plant species of Indian origin,” stated Dr Raja C Mugasimangalam, founder and CEO of Genotypic Technology.


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