Combining evolutionary inference and metabolomics to identify plants with medicinal potential

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dc.contributor.author Mawalagedera, SMUP en
dc.contributor.author Callahan, DL en
dc.contributor.author Gaskett, Anne en
dc.contributor.author Ronsted, N en
dc.contributor.author Symonds, MRE en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-10-02T00:14:19Z en
dc.date.issued 2019-07 en
dc.identifier.citation Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7:11 pages Article number 267 Jul 2019 en
dc.identifier.issn 2296-701X en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48321 en
dc.description.abstract Plants have been a source of medicines in human cultures for millennia. The past decade has seen a decline in plant-derived medicines due to the time-consuming nature of screening for biological activity and a narrow focus on individual candidate plant taxa. A phylogenetically informed approach can be both more comprehensive in taxonomic scope and more systematic, because it allows identification of evolutionary lineages with higher incidence of medicinal activity. For these reasons, phylogenetics is being increasingly applied to the identification of novel botanic sources of medicinal compounds. These biologically active compounds are normally derived from plant secondary or specialized metabolites generally produced as induced responses and often playing a crucial role in plant defense against herbivores and pathogens. Since these compounds are typically bioactive they serendipitously offer potential therapeutic properties for humans, resulting in their use by traditional societies and ultimately drug lead development by natural product chemists and pharmacologists. The expression of these metabolites is likely the result of coevolutionary processes between plants and the other species with which they interact and effective metabolites are thus selected upon through evolution. Recent research on plant phylogeny coupled with metabolomics, which is the comprehensive analysis of metabolite profiles, has identified that related taxa produce similar secondary metabolites, although correlations are dependent also on environmental factors. Modern mass spectrometry and bioinformatic chemical networking tools can now assist high throughput screening to discover structurally related and potentially new bioactive compounds. The combination of these metabolomic approaches with phylogenetic comparative analysis of the expression of metabolites across plant taxa could therefore greatly increase our capacity to identify taxa for medicinal potential. This review examines the current status of identification of new plant sources of medicine and the current limitations of identifying plants as drug candidates. It investigates how ethnobotanic knowledge, phylogenetics and novel approaches in metabolomics can be partnered to help in characterizing taxa with medicinal potential. en
dc.language English en
dc.publisher Frontiers Media S.A. en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/ecology-and-evolution#author-guidelines en
dc.rights.uri https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ en
dc.subject Science & Technology en
dc.subject Life Sciences & Biomedicine en
dc.subject Ecology en
dc.subject Environmental Sciences & Ecology en
dc.subject evolution en
dc.subject medicinal plants en
dc.subject metabolomics en
dc.subject phylogenetics en
dc.subject secondary metabolites en
dc.subject NATURAL-PRODUCTS en
dc.subject SECONDARY METABOLITES en
dc.subject MOLECULAR NETWORKING en
dc.subject DRUG DISCOVERY en
dc.subject PHYLOGENETIC SIGNAL en
dc.subject COEVOLUTION en
dc.subject HERBIVORES en
dc.subject CHALLENGES en
dc.subject STRATEGIES en
dc.subject SELECTION en
dc.title Combining evolutionary inference and metabolomics to identify plants with medicinal potential en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.3389/fevo.2019.00267 en
pubs.volume 7 en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The authors en
pubs.publication-status Published en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.subtype Review en
pubs.elements-id 778791 en
pubs.org-id Science en
pubs.org-id Biological Sciences en
pubs.number 267 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-10-09 en


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