Editor's Note
The authors of this study used chloroplast universal regions and their polymorphism to distinguish  G. pentaphyllum  from other Gynostemma  species. The authors established a multiplex allele-specific PCR for the authentication of G. pentaphyllum from other species. These primers were successful to analyze the dried tea samples of Gynostemma as well. The developed molecular markers could authenticate different  Gynostemma  species and its products helping prevent mistaken-identity of this medicinal herb.
Abstract

Gynostemma pentaphyllum  is a traditional oriental medicinal herb used as tea since ancient time. Among Gynostemma species, G. pentaphyllum  has more active chemical components and better therapeutic effect. It is used to cure depression, diabetes, anxiety, hyperlipidemia, fatigue, immunity, cancer, and oxidative stress. Overexploitation of  G. pentaphyllum  for its medicinal benefits has been on a rise, due to which they are adulterated or mistakenly identified with other members of  Gynostemma  species. Hence, we used chloroplast universal regions such as  ycf3 , accD , petD , psbB and their polymorphism to distinguish  G. pentaphyllum  from other Gynostemma  species. By using the species-specific primers derived from the above regions, we established a multiplex allele-specific PCR for the authentication of  G. pentaphyllum  from other species. Thus the PCR reaction produced unique amplicons of size 244 bp and 438 bp for  G. pentaphyllum  amplified by the primers flanking ycf3, and accD regions respectively. While a 607 bp, and 787 bp amplicons from the primers targeting psbB, and petD regions distinguished  G. longipes , G. burmanicum , and  G. pubescens  species. Moreover, these primers were successful to analyze the dried tea samples of Gynostemma as well. Thus, the developed molecular markers could authenticate different  Gynostemma  species as well as its products thereby preventing the mistaken-identity of this medicinal herb.

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