Indian researchers have successfully sequenced the genome of Holy Basil (tulsi) in an attempt to find the therapeutic properties of the herb.
Researchers at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Lucknow, India, said the gene sequencing will help synthesize secondary metabolites in basil for therapeutic properties, which has been made possible with the sequencing of the whole genome of the herb.
All parts of the herb - dried leaves, seeds and the whole plant - are used in Ayurveda, Greek, Roman, Siddha and Unani. Basil is known for its organic compounds like phenylpropanoids and terpenoids which are known to have therapeutic properties.
The gene sequence opens the possibility of identifying genes involved in producing therapeutic molecules and produce it in labs.
"This will also facilitate identification of not yet identified genes involved in the synthesis of important secondary metabolites in this plant. Specific pathway related genes identified or mined in this genome could be used for the production of secondary metabolites following synthetic biology approaches," according to a statement by CSIR.
According to the researchers, the development of molecular tools and genomic resources will accelerate molecular breeding and ultimately the utility of basil in medical community.