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Philippine Journal of Science
134 (1): 31-37, June 2005
ISSN 0031 - 7683
31
Merlyn S. Mendioro
*
,
Maria Genaleen Q. Diaz
,
Maria Theresa B. Alcantara,
Oscar J. Hilario, Patrocinio Mateo
and
Reycel D.M. Maghirang
Key words
: cytological studies, iron-acetocarmine squash technique,
Euphorbia
,
Moringa
,
Chrysanthemum
, karyotype
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
INTRODUCTION
Plant products are widely used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food industries. Many pharmaceutical companies in the
Western world depend on many plants for their medicinal
properties. Pharmacopoeias have developed from ancient
herbs (de Padua et al. 1977; de Padua 1996).
Euphorbia pulcherrima
Willd. or poinsettia (Fig. 1a),
which is commonly cultivated for ornamental purposes
has curative properties, too. Decoction of the bracts and
flowers are taken as galactagogue by nursing women
to increase milk flow although the practice is said to be
Cytological Studies of Selected Medicinal Plants:
Euphorbia pulcherrima
Willd. ex Klotz.,
Moringa oleifera
Lam.,
Catharanthus roseus
(L.) Don.,
and
Chrysanthemum indicum
Linn.
Genetics and Molecular Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines
Los Baños, College, Laguna, Philippines
Meioses I and II in young flower buds of
Euphorbia pulcherrima
Willd. ex Klotz. (poinsettia),
Moringa oleifera
Lam. (malunggay), and
Catharanthus roseus
(L.) Don. (periwinkle) were studied
using iron-acetocarmine squash technique. The chromosome number of C. roseus
is 2n=16
while both
M. oleifera
and
E. pulcherrima
have 2n=28. Although late disjunction and presence of
laggards were noted at Metaphase I, Anaphase I and II, Telophase I and II were 100% normal. These would indicate that lagging chromosomes were able to catch up, reached the opposite poles, and were included in daughter nuclei. Highly normal meiosis I and II resulted to high pollen fertility (90.62 to 91.91%). On the other hand, acetocarmine squash preparations of root tip cells of

Chrysanthemum indicum
Linn. (manzanilla) pre-treated with 0.5% colchicine for 2
hours revealed that the diploid chromosome number ranged from 44 to 48. The chromosomes were monocentric. Based on the position of the centromeres, the chromosomes were categorized into three groups, namely; Group I-median, Group II-submedian, and Group III-subterminal. Relative lengths of the chromosomes ranged from 0.40 to 1.00. dangerous (Quisumbing 1978). The leaves are applied

as poultice and used as emetocathartic causing vomiting
and bowel movement.
Moringa oleifera
Lam. or malunggay (Fig. 1b) is a
multi-purpose crop indigenous to Northwest India. Tender
pods, leaves and flowers are consumed as vegetables,
the twigs and leaves as fodders, and oil extracted from
the seeds is used as spice, in illumination and cosmetics
(Concha 1980). The plant is used as tonic to enhance
lactation, as poultice to reduce glandular swelling, and as
purgative. The roots, when chewed and applied to snake
bite, can prevent the poison from spreading (de Padua
and Pancho 1983).
32
Philippine Journal of Science
Vol. 134 No. 1, June 2005
Mendioro et al.: Cytological Studies of
Selected Medicinal Plants
Catharanthus roseus
(L.) Don. or periwinkle (Fig.
1c), besides being cultivated as an ornamental plant, is
a source of as many as 200 different alkaloids, two of
which, vincristine and vinblastine, are anti-cancer drugs
(Kingston and Sami 1979). These anti-cancer alkaloids
are expensive (Fontanel and Tabata 1986). Vinblastine has
been extensively used in combination with cis platinum
and bleomycin to treat testicular and ovarian cancers
(Pratt 1994).
Another medicinal plant native to China and Japan
is
Chrysanthemum indicum
L. or manzanilla (Fig. 1d.).
Its infusion is a remedy for intermittent fever, hysteria,
and monthly irregularities. It is also used as carminative,...
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