Role of Phytochemicals and Nucleic Acids in Solving Taxonomic Problems

Review

Abstract

Phytochemicals and nucleic acids provide valuable tools for delimitation of various taxa and their placement in natural system of classification. Chemical characters are broadly categorized as visible traits, micro- and macromolecules. Compared to visible characters that are few and have limited usage in taxonomy, micro- and macromolecules provide important taxonomic tools. Micromolecular characters are small sized and include phenolic constituents, alkaloids, terpenoids, free amino acids, fats and oils and cyanogenic compounds. Macromolecules, the information containing molecules are large sized and comprise of proteins, DNA and RNA. Though chemical characters provide important taxonomic tools, some of these such as alkaloids and proteins are susceptible to change with regard to changing environmental conditions or ontogeny. Plant parts of same physiological age should, therefore be used for comparative analysis.

Keywords

Phytochemicals Taxonomy Systematics Nucleic acids 

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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of JammuJammuIndia

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