Submitted to: National Symposium on New Crops and New Uses
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2001
Publication Date: 11/13/2001
Interpretive Summary: This manuscript is to be submitted as a book chapter on alternative crops in U.S. agriculture. It contains genetic information on colonies of the North American mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) in the area around Oxford, MS. P. peltatum is an important medicinal plant because it produces the chemical podophyllotoxin, which is used as a starting block to synthesize unique anti-cancer drugs. In order to adapt P. peltatum to agronomic conditions, it is important to evaluate numerous unrelated populations under field conditions. The data from this study shows that there is little genetic variation between these Oxford populations, even though they are separated by several kilometers. This means it will be necessary to test accessions from a much broader geographical distance.
Technical Abstract: Podophyllum peltatum is a herbaceous and rhizomatous species of great medicinal value. It is a natural source for the lignan podophyllotoxin, a compound from which the semisynthetic anti cancer drugs - etopside, teniposide and etopophos are drived. The plant grows in the forest understorey in extensive patches. The relationship between nearby colonies sis unknown. The production of podophyllotoxin in leaf blades varies from colony to colony ranging from 0 to 4% on dry weight basis. For production purposes, it is essential to determine if this variation is due to genetic or environmental factors. We are investigating RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) for studying the genetic relationships among intra- and inter- specific populations of Podophyllum peltatum. These molecular markers are based on DNA amplification by PCR. In this study, 15 decamer primers were used to characterize the variation among accessions of Podophyllum peltatum in the area around Oxford, MS. RAPDs revealed a low level of polymorphism. It is clear from our results that more extensive studies are needed, which would include a more senstive measure of genetic variance, like AFLP and obtaining accession from a broader area.