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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 44  |  Page : 570-574

Identification of a herbal powder by deoxyribonucleic acid barcoding and structural analyses

Department of Biosciences, Centre for Advanced Studies in Plant Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Vrinda S Thaker
Department of Biosciences, Saurashtra University, Rajkot 360 005, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1296.172963

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Background: Authentic identification of plants is essential for exploiting their medicinal properties as well as to stop the adulteration and malpractices with the trade of the same. Objective: To identify a herbal powder obtained from a herbalist in the local vicinity of Rajkot, Gujarat, using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) barcoding and molecular tools. Materials and Methods: The DNA was extracted from a herbal powder and selected Cassia species, followed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the rbcL barcode locus. Thereafter the sequences were subjected to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) analysis, followed by the protein three-dimension structure determination of the rbcL protein from the herbal powder and Cassia species namely Cassia fistula, Cassia tora and Cassia javanica (sequences obtained in the present study), Cassia Roxburghii, and Cassia abbreviata (sequences retrieved from Genbank). Further, the multiple and pairwise structural alignment were carried out in order to identify the herbal powder. Results: The nucleotide sequences obtained from the selected species of Cassia were submitted to Genbank (Accession No. JX141397, JX141405, JX141420). The NCBI BLAST analysis of the rbcL protein from the herbal powder showed an equal sequence similarity (with reference to different parameters like E value, maximum identity, total score, query coverage) to C. javanica and C. roxburghii. In order to solve the ambiguities of the BLAST result, a protein structural approach was implemented. The protein homology models obtained in the present study were submitted to the protein model database (PM0079748-PM0079753). The pairwise structural alignment of the herbal powder (as template) and C. javanica and C. roxburghii (as targets individually) revealed a close similarity of the herbal powder with C. javanica. Conclusion: A strategy as used here, incorporating the integrated use of DNA barcoding and protein structural analyses could be adopted, as a novel rapid and economic procedure, especially in cases when protein coding loci are considered.

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