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Strategies and recent achievements in selection of medicinal and aromatic plants

Bernáth, J.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.576
biosynthesis, cell culture, cultivars, drugs, essential oil crops, genes, genetic engineering, hybridization, mutation, selection methods
In harmony with requirements of safety, efficacy, and stability of medicinal and aromatic plant drugs and their products, the need for high quality raw is increasing. This phenomenon is proven by number of breeding results and registration procedures, concerning medicinal and aromatic plant cultivars, recently reported from different countries. The worldwide progress achieved in breeding is obvious, in spite of the fact, that different strategies and methods are used country by country. In the present work breeding strategies used for changing the accumulation level and composition of active agents are overviewed. The utilization of the chemical diversity of the plant kingdom is one of main direction of investigations. Search for inter-, or intraspecific distribution of well-defined active compounds is one of the most important goal of analysis, resulting in large numbers of cultivars of practical importance. The majority of plant materials under cultivation have been created by conventional selection methods, even today, including individual- mass-, or special selection methods. More recently outstanding results achieved by hybridization, polyploidization and mutation are reported. The application of transformed cell cultures and genetic-engineering based on the over expressing or suppressing of genes responsible for biosynthesis of a special active agents may offer new possibilities and might became a novel tool in the breeding of medicinal and aromatic plants in the future.