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Authentication of Chinese Medicinal Materials by DNA Technology
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for centuries in the Orient to relieve or treat diseases. Its efficacy is now attracting worldwide attention. Chinese medicinal materials are traditionally identified by their organoleptic characteristics, such as the texture or the odour. To ensure consistency of quality and avoid misuse, reliable programs are urgently needed for authentication. Proper authentication also assists in the detection and conservation of endangered species. DNA molecules offer a more definitive means of authentication, as genetic composition is unique for each taxon and is less affected by age, physiological conditions and environmental factors. This book introduces and evaluates the molecular techniques that have been developed to authenticate Chinese medicinal materials. The contents of the book are divided into four parts. The first part reviews the current status of molecular authentication of Chinese medicinal materials. The second part describes the equipment and materials required for the work. In the third part, researchers in the field present the principles and step-by-step protocols for a wide spectrum of techniques used in the molecular authentication of TCM. The last part provides an overview of this field.