Mining the biodiversity of plants: a revolution in the making

Science. 2012 Jun 29;336(6089):1658-61. doi: 10.1126/science.1217410.


Only a small fraction of the immense diversity of plant metabolism has been explored for the production of new medicines and other products important to human well-being. The availability of inexpensive high-throughput sequencing is rapidly expanding the number of species that can be investigated for the speedy discovery of previously unknown enzymes and pathways. Exploitation of these resources is being carried out through interdisciplinary synthetic and chemical biology to engineer pathways in plant and microbial systems for improving the production of existing medicines and to create libraries of biologically active products that can be screened for new drug applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Drug Discovery
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • RNA Interference