DNA of Singapore's national flower mapped for the first time, revealing an anti-ageing compound in orchid

Decoding the genome of flora helps in uncovering natural compounds that can be used to understand, prevent and fight diseases, said the orchid project’s co-lead, Professor Teh Bin Tean, director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Biodiversity Medicine (BD-Med).

Prof Teh is also a scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Genome Institute of Singapore, which was also involved in the project.

Using advanced gene-sequencing technologies, researchers from both institutes found that the Vanda Miss Joaquim has 19 chromosomes made up of 2.4 billion DNA base pairs with a total of 32,000 genes.

The orchid’s genes influence the formation of proteins which determine its traits, cell processes and natural compounds responsible for its pink and purple shades, its scent and substances such as the anti-skin ageing compound.

This substance, called vandaterosides, was previously discovered in an orchid ancestor of the Vanda Miss Joaquim hybrid, which was created by crossing Papilionanthe teres with another orchid species.

Read the complete article at www.straitstimes.com.

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