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Diversity in aconitine alkaloid profile of Aconitum plants in Hokkaido contrasts with their genetic similarity

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Aconite tuber is a representative crude drug for warming the body internally in Japanese Kampo medicine and Chinese traditional medicine. The crude drug is used in major prescriptions for the aged. Varieties of Aconitum plants are distributed throughout the Japanese Islands, especially Hokkaido. With the aim of identifying the medicinal potential of Aconitum plants from Hokkaido, 107 specimens were collected from 36 sites in the summer of 2011 and 2012. Their nuclear DNA region, internal transcribed spacer (ITS), and aconitine alkaloid contents were analyzed. Phylogenic analysis of ITS by maximum parsimony analysis showed that the majority of the specimens were grouped into one cluster (cluster I), separated from the other cluster (cluster II) consisting of alpine specimens. The aconitine alkaloid content of the tuberous roots of 76 specimens showed 2 aspects—specimens from the same collection site showed similar aconitine alkaloid profiles, and cluster I specimens from different habitats showed various alkaloid profiles. Environmental pressure of each habitat is presumed to have caused the morphology and aconitine alkaloid profile of these genetically similar specimens to diversify.

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This research was partly supported by a special grant to TA from Kyusyu University of Health and Welfare.

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Correspondence to Nobuko Kakiuchi.

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Kakiuchi, N., Atsumi, T., Higuchi, M. et al. Diversity in aconitine alkaloid profile of Aconitum plants in Hokkaido contrasts with their genetic similarity. J Nat Med 69, 154–164 (2015).

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