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Scientists Publicize Genome Map of Medicinal Herb

HONG KONG, March 18 (Xinhua) -- After over a year's efforts, scientists from Shanghai and Hong Kong announced on Friday that they have completed the whole genomic sequencing work of Isaria cicada, a rare herb highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, which will help facilitate its further development in medical and nutrition fields.

It is the first time that the whole genomic sequence of Isaria cicada has been released, said the scientists from Shanghai Institute of Bio-Asia Life Science and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), who participated in the research.

The result was announced at the International Biomedical Scientists and Biotechnology Forum 2011 held in the day at the Hong Kong Science Park.

According to the result, the genomic size of Isaria cicada, a medicine traditionally used to treat children's diseases, is about one eightieth of human genome, containing about 16,000 genes.

The tests that had been done proved that Isaria cicada, with many high-quality genes not recognized or used by human beings yet, has been deeply involved in important life processes like metabolism, providing new ways for further development of Isaria cicad in bio-medical area, said a scientist from HKUST.

The genome map will also help accelerate the artificial cultivation of Isaria cicada, enhancing its medicine and nutrition value and making it available in a larger market, according to the scientist.


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