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Plant-based Medicines


Cell Biotechnology of Plant-Based Medicines: Elite Lines of Germplasm and Hairy Root Cultures of Endemic and Rare Plant Species of Kyrgyzstan of the Genus of Scutellaria

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-DIV/Biodiversity/Biotechnology
  • CHE-OTH/Other/Chemistry
  • MED-DRG/Drug Discovery/Medicine

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan / Biotechnology Institution, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek


  • Universite de Picardie Jules Verne, France, Amiens\nRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, Kew\nNational Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, Korea, Suwon\nUniversity of Guelph / Department of Plant Agriculture, Canada, ON, Guelph\nLeibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Germany, Halle

Project summary

Kyrgyzstan is one of the world-scale centers of origins of cultured plants. Flora of mountainous areas of Kyrgyzstan is featured with high endemism and prospective for searching for new sources of biologically active substances. At first this is about some high-mountainous plants species – representatives of the genus of Scutellaria, Ferula, Astragalus, Artemisia, Hedysarum et cet. Despite of high scientific interest to the above-mentioned plants they are in general were insufficiently studied. This may be explained by several reasons: isolations of the populations and small numbers of plants, narrow areas, difficult availability of growth locations (vertical rocks, slide-rocks etc.), and lack of funding for field research.

For last period it is observed worldwide that there is increase in demand for cure preparations of originated from plants. Chinese reform by the Health Ministry activities on supplying population with cure preparation of plant origins passed on higher level (Kiselyova, Karpeev, Samylina, 2002). It is known that in the US only plant cures market made $3.24 billion (Miller, 1998), and 33% of the population use plant cures. In 2004 Canadian legislation set development, production and marketing of plant-based medicines (Cool, Saxena, Murch, 2007).

In order to obtain effective preparations it is necessary to research biological persity on the ground of the right taxonomy, research of biology and physiology of particular species, creation of appropriate technologies with use of both introduction and cultivation of plant materials in vitro. Side by side with these technologies, has been used hydroponics to grow plants in non sterile conditions to force secondary metabolites exudation (Pagliarulo, Hayden, 2002; Minh, Dao, Benoit et all, 2006).

One of the genuses of plants famous for their medical features is the genus of Scutellaria (Family Lamiacea). Roots of various species of Scutellaria are the site of synthesis and accumulation of valuable flavonoids – flavons (Malikov, Yeldashev, 2002). Pharmacological significance of the plants of this species is defined not only by flavons, which are synthesized in their roots (wogonin, baicalein, baicalin, chrizin, scutellarin) and which represent great interest for creating preparations possessing anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities (Goldberg et al. 1994). Presently in skullcap there have been found also physiologically active compounds that belong to other classes of secondary substances – acteoside (Ohno, Inoue et all., 2002; Xie, Wang et al., 2002) and melatonin, which are animal hormones that also represent interest for pharmaceutical industry (Murch, Rupasinghe, Goodenowe, Saxena, 2004; Cool, Saxena, Murch, 2007). In the last period there are new ways of researching biochemistry of plants; they allow recording changes of metabolism profile in tissues in terms of time and during processing (Murch, Rupasinghe, Goodenowe, Saxena, 2004; Кузовкина et al., 2001, 2005).

Inventory of various species of Scutellaria, especially those endemic and rare, their areas and research on chemical contents of their roots (and also of on-ground mass) represent great practical interest. Introduction of roots of various species of Scutellaria in culture in vitro may serve as the basis of the main work-out of biotechnological method to obtain valuable and ecologically absolutely pure cure raw materials; this may simultaneously decrease loss of naturally growing plants.

Spread of plant of the genus of Scutellaria in Kyrgyzstan had not been researched sufficiently. Our preliminary research indicated high potential capabilities of Kyrgyz species of Scutellaria.

Project goal – selection elite lines of Scutellaria germplasm and hairy roots and development of systems for planning experiments on their cultivation.

Within conduct of the project the following tasks to be performed:

  1. Collection and identification of native plants and seeds of Scutellaria. Contribution for genetic bank and herbaria foundation of the lab;
  2. Introduction in vitro and propagation of Scutellaria species;
  3. Obtaining genetically transformed roots of Scutellaria;
  4. Conduct of chemical analysis of native roots, sterile lines of germplasm and hairy roots;
  5. Selection of perspective lines of germplasm;
  6. Determination of biological (antioxidant) activity;
  7. Optimization of medium for cultivation of elite lines of germplasm;
  8. Development of expertise system for planning experiments on cultivation perspective lines of germplasm and genetically transformed roots of Scutellaria;
  9. Reconstruction and sustaining e-database (created in the previous project and being informational storage of project data) of endemic and rare, economically especially valuable plants.

Scientific research and practical work-outs in the field of biotechnology, which we conducted for several years in collaboration with K.A. Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology of Russian Academy of Science and group of specialized roots metabolism (head I.N. Kuzovkina), may serve as a good ground for reaching the project goal and tasks. Conduct of the project will involve highly qualified experts – physiologists and biochemistrists, geo-botanists and florists. Besides, medical experts, pharmacologists, technologists and experts in chemistry will also be involved.

In the result of conduct of the project we are supposed to obtain elite lines of germplasm and to have developed methods of obtaining sufficient amounts of valuable and ecologically pure cure raw materials.

The results to be obtained may be used in pharmacology, medicine, cosmetics and other practical fields of science and industries. During the project we suppose to conduct work with use of field (expedition), lab (experimental) methods.

In the work we will use biotechnological methods (introduction in culture in vitro, micro-reproduction), methods of genetic engineering (obtaining of genetically transformed root culture) and biochemical methods (determination of qualitative and quantitative contents of biologically active substances, determination of biological activity, UV – spectroscopy, HPLC and TLC.

All the ISTC objectives and targets, listed in article 3 Section 3 on Detailed Project Information, will be completely met, science the Project offers an opportunity and background for weapon scientist and specialists from Kyrgyzstan to transfer their skills to peaceful activities; encourages the Kyrgyz scientists’ integration into the international scientific community; supports applied research and peaceful technologies development, particularly in environmental control; facilitates the solution of national and international technical issues; supports transition to market economy, meeting civil needs.

Within the project we suppose collaboration with colleagues abroad – collaborators: on information exchange during conduct of the project, co-research and discussion of results, conduct of seminars and conferences.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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