• high-throughput sequencing;
  • medicinal plant transcriptome;
  • 454 pyrosequencing;
  • Illumina sequencing platform;
  • drug development


Preclinical Research

Two alternative approaches to medicinal plant transcriptome analysis, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and digital gene expression (DGE), are sequence based and have become increasingly popular due to rapid developments in high-throughput sequencing technologies. Among the high-throughput sequencing techniques, the 454 pyrosequencing and Illumina sequencing platforms are the first to be commercially available and established and thus widely used in various fields of medicinal plant transcriptome research. Metabolic pathway analysis of medicinal plants and molecular marker mining for molecular breeding can be facilitated and accelerated by RNA-seq. DGE provides novel insights into biochemical mechanisms in medicinal plants. This review illustrates the potential of high-throughput sequencing in drug discovery, drug development, and large-scale production of plant natural products, and envisions its future development and applications in medicinal plant transcriptome studies.