Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal researchers have completed the first-ever genome sequencing of the Jamun tree (Syzygium cumini), an evergreen tree popular in India for its medicinal properties, fruits, and ornamental value.
To understand the genomic and evolutionary basis of the tree’s medicinal values, the research team sequenced the S.cumini genome from the world’s largest tree genus Syzygium using Oxford Nanopore and 10x Genomics sequencing technologies. Jamun is the largest genome to be sequenced from the world’s largest tree genus, Syzygium.
The team, led by Dr Vineet K Sharma, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, includes Abhisek Chakraborty, Shruti Mahajan, and Manohar Singh Bisht from IISER Bhopal. Their findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Plant Science.
Explaining the aim of this research, Dr Vineet K Sharma, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, said, “The aim of this research was to gain new functional and evolutionary insights from the Jamun genome, which could be responsible for the wide range of pharmacological properties of this species conferred by the bioactive compounds that act as nutraceutical agents in modern medicine.”
Highlighting the insights gained from this research, Dr Vineet K Sharma said, “Taken together, it is tempting to speculate that the adaptive evolution of major plant secondary metabolism pathways in S. cumini species confers unprecedented antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other pharmacological properties of this tree. Further, the whole genome sequence of S. cumini will facilitate future genomic, evolutionary, and ecological studies on the world’s largest tree genus.”
Syzygium cumini, often known as Jamun, jambolan, or black plum, is a Myrtaceae plant family tropical tree. Its natural range includes the Indian Subcontinent and South-East Asia. The clove genus, Syzygium, is the world’s biggest tree genus, with 1,193 recognised species, of which Jamun is one.
Jamun’s therapeutic properties are widely celebrated in India. Specifically, the fruit seed extracts of Jamun have well-known anti-diabetic properties. It is also highly recommended in Ayurveda to treat a variety of health ailments such as stomach discomfort, arthritis, cardiac problems, flatulence, asthma, diarrhoea, and stomach spasms. The black plum can be eaten fresh or made into juice.