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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 479879, 6 pages
Research Article

Endangered Uyghur Medicinal Plant Ferula Identification through the Second Internal Transcribed Spacer

1Xinjiang Institute of Chinese Materia Medica and Ethnical Materia, 9 Xinming Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830002, China
2The National Engineering Laboratory for Breeding of Endangered Medicinal Materials, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
3Chongqing Institute of Medicinal Plant Cultivation, Chongqing 408335, China

Received 10 June 2014; Revised 6 October 2014; Accepted 6 October 2014

Academic Editor: Robert Henry

Copyright © 2015 Congzhao Fan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The medicinal plant Ferula has been widely used in Asian medicine, especially in Uyghur medicine in Xinjiang, China. Given that various substitutes and closely related species have similar morphological characteristics, Ferula is difficult to distinguish based on morphology alone, thereby causing confusion and threatening the safe use of Ferula. In this study, internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequences were analyzed and assessed for the accurate identification of two salable Ferula species (Ferula sinkiangensis and Ferula fukangensis) and eight substitutes or closely related species. Results showed that the sequence length of ITS2 ranged from 451 bp to 45 bp, whereas guanine and cytosine contents (GC) were from 53.6% to 56.2%. A total of 77 variation sites were detected, including 63 base mutations and 14 insertion/deletion mutations. The ITS2 sequence correctly identified 100% of the samples at the species level using the basic local alignment search tool 1 and nearest-distance method. Furthermore, neighbor-joining tree successfully identified the genuine plants F. sinkiangensis and F. fukangensis from their succedaneum and closely related species. These results indicated that ITS2 sequence could be used as a valuable barcode to distinguish Uyghur medicine Ferula from counterfeits and closely related species. This study may broaden DNA barcoding application in the Uyghur medicinal plant field.