Genome of medicinal plant Giloy sequenced for the first time in the world, Health News, ET HealthWorld

BHOPAL: Scientists at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal have sequenced the genome of medicinal plant Giloy (Tinosporacordifolia) for the first time in the world. The genome and transcriptome sequencing of the medicinal plant is important due to its tremendous use in pharmaceuticals and ayurvedic formulations to treat various health conditions including COVID-19 and can provide deep insights into the genomic basis of its medicinal properties.

The research was led by Dr. Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, and comprised Ms. ShrutiMahajan and Mr. AbhisekChakraborty, PhD Students, IISER Bhopal, and Ms. TitasSil, BS-MS Student, IISER Bhopal.

The usage of Giloy is also recommended under Ayurveda practice by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy). It is recommended in prophylactic care as well as therapeutic applications for all symptomatic or asymptomatic patients infected with COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

One of the key aspects of Giloy’s gene sequencing was that this is the first species ever sequenced from the Menispermaceae plant family, which comprises of more than 400 species having therapeutic values. A deep transcriptome sequencing of leaf tissue was also performed while Giloy’s genome sequencing.

The researchers asserted that the draft genome assembly had a size of 1.01 Gbp and contained 19,474 coding gene sequences. The researchers performed a comprehensive genome wide phylogenetic analysis with 36 other plant species to resolve the phylogenetic position of Giloy. This research will aid in various comparative genomic studies and will act as a reference for the future species sequenced from its genus and family.

Previous studies have shown that a compound from Giloy was reported to target the two proteases of SARS-CoV-2 virus namely Mpro and Spike proteases, and another compound was predicted to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and also disrupts viral spike protein and host ACE-2 interaction. Treatment with giloy extract modulates the various pathways of the immune system for improved immunity.

Elaborating on the highlights of this Research, Dr. Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, said, “Giloy also has anti-microbial activity and is used in skin diseases, urinary tract infection, and dental plaque, among others. It is also found to reduce the clinical symptoms in HIV-positive patients and its antioxidant activity has anti-cancer and chemo-protective properties. Giloy extracts are found to be potential candidates in treating various cancers like brain tumour, breast cancer, and oral cancer, as well.”

The research team indicates that the multiple medicinal properties present due to giloy secondary metabolites. The research team is hopeful that the genome sequence of the plant could be a breakthrough as the potential therapeutic agent for diseases like COVID in the future.

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