How Two Angelica Plants Control Early Flowering Revealed

Greg Howard
7th April, 2024

How Two Angelica Plants Control Early Flowering Revealed

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Beijing, a study found early flowering in Dong quai reduces its medicinal root quality
  • Researchers identified 28 genes and 5 metabolites linked to early bolting in the plant
  • The findings could help improve cultivation to preserve Dong quai's medicinal properties
Angelica sinensis, commonly known as Dong quai or Chinese Angelica, is a plant whose root has been valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. It's known for its potential to improve blood health and address women's reproductive issues[2]. However, the plant's tendency to bolt—meaning it flowers early—can significantly reduce the medicinal quality and quantity of its roots[3]. Researchers from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine have recently conducted a study[1] that sheds light on this problem, comparing the genetic expression and chemical makeup of bolting plants with those that haven't bolted. The study's primary goal was to understand the differences at a molecular level between early bolting plants and normal plants. To achieve this, scientists compared the transcriptomes, which are the full range of messenger RNA molecules expressed by an organism, of two different cultivars of A. sinensis. They discovered 3677 and 3354 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the two cultivars studied, respectively. These genes are responsible for the functioning of the plant and can influence its growth and development. The researchers also identified key differences in metabolites—the small molecules involved in the plant's metabolism—between the bolting and non-bolting plants. They focused on phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, and coumarins, which are compounds that have been shown to have various health benefits[4]. The study revealed that certain pathways related to early bolting were associated with 28 genes and 5 metabolites that showed significant differences in expression and accumulation. In simpler terms, the genes that decreased in expression in bolting plants are mostly associated with the plant's energy and building block synthesis, while those that increased are related to the plant's response to stress and developmental timing. The study also found higher levels of certain stress-related substances in bolting plants, which could be a response to the premature flowering process. Previous research has highlighted the importance of understanding the phytochemistry of A. sinensis and the need for well-designed studies to confirm the clinical efficacy of its use in medicine[2]. The current study builds on this by providing a deeper insight into the genetic and metabolic changes associated with early bolting, which can affect the plant's medicinal properties. The findings from this study are crucial because they offer a new understanding of the biological processes that lead to early bolting in A. sinensis. This knowledge can potentially lead to the development of cultivation techniques or genetic interventions to prevent early bolting, ensuring the roots maintain their high medicinal value. This is particularly important as the demand for traditional herbal remedies like A. sinensis continues to grow worldwide[4]. The study's results also have broader implications for other medicinal plants in the Apiaceae family, which might share similar genetic and metabolic traits that lead to early bolting. By applying the findings from A. sinensis, researchers can explore ways to enhance the yield and quality of these plants as well. In conclusion, the research from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine provides valuable insights into the genetic and metabolic factors involved in the early bolting of A. sinensis. It also underscores the importance of aligning traditional practices with modern scientific research to ensure the efficacy and safety of herbal remedies[2][4]. By continuing to explore the complex interactions between a plant's genetics and its environment, we can better understand how to optimize the production of medicinal plants and preserve their therapeutic potential for future generations.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Integrated transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis reveals the regulation mechanism of early bolting and flowering in two cultivars of Angelica sinensis.

Published 15th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Danggui to Angelica sinensis root: are potential benefits to European women lost in translation? A review.

3) Transcriptional Controls for Early Bolting and Flowering in Angelica sinensis.

4) Angelica sinensis in China-A review of botanical profile, ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and chemical analysis.

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