Updated on 23 January 2013
The data also provides vital clues related to the other phytochemical functions such as anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, immuno-modulatory, anti-microbial and anti-malarial properties through the secondary metabolite pathway. Dr Rao commented that, "Since large portions of the transcripts are involved in bixin biosynthesis in the plant, we believe this is implicated in anti-diabetic properties of the leaves".
When asked if we can see a drug coming out of a bioinformatics company, Dr Rao replied that, "It is very early in the day and we will have to collaborate with a pharma company for this. Our endeavor as a genomics company is not to make a new drug, but to make sure that there is enough proof-of-concept to take it to a level that will interest the pharma industry. At this moment we need to do further studies and more experimental validations of how this insulin plant can be used."
Genotypic, whose labs are certified by the Department of Science and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India, for R&D, made its first R&D publication in BMC Genomics on November 23, 2012, under the title "Next generation sequencing and de novo transcriptome analysis of Costus pictus D. Don, a non-model plant with potent anti-diabetic properties". The article has become highly accessed publication with over 2000 hits in less than a month.
Dr Rao says that, "The knowledge that this study contributes for identification of novel targets for diabetes is immense and very relevant for India with its huge diabetic population. We are certain that this will benefit the pharma industry on their research programs. This was one of our quickest projects, which took us just five months to complete and publish."
This study therefore will aid in the understanding of the therapeutic potential of C. pictus and serve as a valuable resource for numerous researchers working on developing treatments for diabetes mellitus. Availability of this transcriptomic data in public domains will also enable genome wide comparative studies of closely related medicinal plants of anti-diabetic importance.