Article Title

Authentication of Chinese medicinal materials by DNA technology


Chinese medicinal materials are widely used in the Orient and have found increased popularity in the West as an alternative source of health care. Traditionally, authentication of these materials relies on organoleptic methods. Progress in pharmacognosy has capitalised on the anatomical and chemical profiles as markers for authentication. The advancement of techniques in molecular biology has provided new means for examining genotypic characteristics. Since 1990, several research groups have employed polymerase chain reaction based methods, restriction fragment length polymorphism and DNA sequencing to authenticate medicinal materials and to define the phylogenetic relationship of related species. This review provides an account of these methods and assesses their value.

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