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Study of genetic diversity key to Aquilaria sp. conservation

Advancement in technology has provided mankind with the right tools to discover and use natural resources. Naturally occurring substances are processed to produce useful products. Among such substances, plants play a vital role. The precursor products extracted from plants contribute to a wide range of industries and their products. Aquilaria is one such species of plants that provide crude material for agarwood and resinous wood production. Due to its unique properties, the plant species is in great demand all over the world.

The Aquilaria species is grown abundantly in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Iran, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. Among these countries, only Malaysia and Indonesia deal in the export of Aquilaria due to its high demand globally.

Agarwood made exclusively with extracts from Aquilaria is of very high quality. It is used all over the world in large quantities. Due to the growing demand, the natural resource of Aquilaria species is becoming exhausted. Currently, 25 species of the plant have been identified. The number of species available for export and local use is limited. Aquilaria species is presently defined as “Critically Endangeredʼ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN3) Red List.

Scientific efforts are already in place to protect the endangered status of the plant species. Material efforts to increase sites of plantation and reduce demand are not enough. Hamrick and Godt have proposed the study of genetic diversity to conserve the endangered species effectively.

Dr. Nur Fatihah Hasan Nudin

Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia
Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from
Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands


Hasan Nudin Nur Fatihah and her team of researchers studied the genetic diversity of Aquilaria species. Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) Markers technique was employed during the study. The study experiments were carried out for ten months in the Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kampus Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia.

Fifteen samples were obtained from three different species of the Aquilaria plant. Extracts from the plants are then processed for DNA study using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique. The researchers concluded that more experiments need to be conducted to establish the genetic profile of the species. The study provides essential knowledge for further research.

The researchers published their findings in the Asian Journal of Plant Sciences.

Asian Journal of Plant Sciences is a high quality scientific journal publishes the original research in all areas of plant science and botany. Scope of the journal includes: Plant biotechnology, plant cell and tissue culture, plant gene transfer, development, growth regulation, molecular cell biology and genetics, signal transduction, photosynthesis, pathogen resistance, nutrition, water relations and gas exchange, symbiosis, stress physiology, population genetics, ecology and molecular systematic.

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