Using Phylogeny Approach on Ethnobotanical Bioprospecting for Leading Antimalarial Plant-Based Drug Discovery

Desy Liana, Kanchana Rungsihirunrat


Ethnobotanical-directed bioprospecting has made a significant contribution to modern drug discoveries. However, merely relying on this approach may spend more expenditure, time-consuming, and lead exhaustive laboratory testing due to the tremendous data of medicinal plants used and the occurrence of placebo effect during traditional medical treatment. Combining the phylogeny approach with ethnobotanical bioprospecting may become new prospective tools to lead the plant-based drug discovery, including antimalaria. This study aimed to map the ethnomedicinal plants used by various indigenous cultures to investigate the clustered pattern of its antimalarial properties for future bioprospecting. The Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region sequences of selected 280 medicinal plants taxa obtained from NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) were aligned by MUSCLE multiple sequences alignments. They were further analyzed using the Maximum Likelihood Phylogenetic Test by MEGA X software to construct the phylogenetic tree. Our research revealed that the medicinal plant taxa for malaria treatment was clumped in several families, including Apocynaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae, Rutaceae, Fabaceae were strongly clumped along with plants used for fever in the Asteraceae family. Interestingly, our finding showed that these plants were clumped in the sub-family of antimalarial producing species, the Asteroidea. Furthermore, the strongly clumping pattern was also shown in the tribe Heliantheae alliance of this sub-family. This finding supports the predictive power of phylogeny for future bioprospecting to select the candidate taxa to lead the drug discovery.


Phylogeny; bioprospecting; ethnomedicinal plants; malaria; drug discovery.

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