Tapping Zingiberaceae - Wilderness to Mining Plastome

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Zingiberaceae is an under-utilized plant family because of difficulty in identification and due to overlapping morphology. Further lack in documentation of medicinal values makes the members of its family as obscured target. The present work describes the ethno-medicinal values of Zingiberaceae and further utilizes the plastid genome for resolving phylogeny. Identification and documentation of ethno-medicinal values plays a pivotal role for screening and development of new bioactive molecules. For documenting the ethno-medicinal the information was collected from ethnic community during the field trip made for collection of Zingiberaceae species. A total of 51 plants belonging to nine genera was collected out of which 34 plants were found to possess ethno-medicinal usage. Rhizome was found to be most frequently used plant part and poultice was the most preferred mode of preparation. The family was found to treat a variety of disease with highest treatment associated for gastro-intestinal problems. The information gathered was assembled on a web portal, which was built using HTML 5.0 and the navigation was indexed using java script and CSS style was incorporated in these pages Neighbor joining, maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses of plastid sequence (accD, matK, rpoB, rpoC1, rbcL, atpF-atpH, psbK-psbI and psbA-trnH) data were used to reconstruct the phylogeny of Zingiberaceae. The phylogeny study was conducted by dividing the family into three tribes Alpinieae, Hydechieae and Zingibereae. Amomum, Alpinia, Curcuma and Zingiber was found to be polyphyletic. The phylogeny based on character analyses was found to be marginally more distinguishing. The best combination of loci was observed to be rpoB+matK and matK+atpF-atpH. Hedychium was found to share the recent common ancestor with Zingiber. The whole genome shotgun sequencing of Zingiber officinale, Amomum cardamomum, Alpinia zerumbet, Hedychium coronarium, and Curcuma longa was carried out on Illumina platform. The assembly was performed on edena and velvet platform and the scaffold was constructed by aligning with Typha latifolia plastome. The final plastome with 162,598 bp was produced and showed perfect colinearity with Musa plastome. Other Zingiberaceae was assembled by mapping total shotgun reads on to Z. officinale. An expansion of the IR region at its border with SSC region was observed. Nine pair of new markers were designed by using the five sequenced plastome, which included on SSR marker, six markers for pan Zingiberaceae and two markers for identifying variation among Zingiber species. The comparison of the phylogeny drawn in different section of the thesis and with earlier published works was performed. Hedychium and Zingiber were established to be close relative. It was seen that species from a geographic region clustered together. The present thesis demonstrates the ethno-medicinal importance and phylogenetic relationship of Zingiberaceae. The medicinal important plants would be a source of novel bioactive molecules and the phylogeny study will aid in better classification of the family.
Supervisor: Latha Rangan