Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 288–308 | Cite as

Trends in herbgenomics

  • Tianyi Xin
  • Yu Zhang
  • Xiangdong Pu
  • Ranran Gao
  • Zhichao XuEmail author
  • Jingyuan SongEmail author


From Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic (Shennong Bencao Jing) to the Compendium of Materia Medica (Bencao Gangmu) and the first scientific Nobel Prize for the mainland of China, each milestone in the historical process of the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) involves screening, testing and integrating. After thousands of years of inheritance and development, herbgenomics (bencaogenomics) has bridged the gap between TCM and international advanced omics studies, promoting the application of frontier technologies in TCM. It is a discipline that uncovers the genetic information and regulatory networks of herbs to clarify their molecular mechanism in the prevention and treatment of human diseases. The main theoretical system includes genomics, functional genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, epigenomics, metagenomics, synthetic biology, pharmacogenomics of TCM, and bioinformatics, among other fields. Herbgenomics is mainly applicable to the study of medicinal model plants, genomic-assisted breeding, herbal synthetic biology, protection and utilization of gene resources, TCM quality evaluation and control, and TCM drug development. Such studies will accelerate the application of cutting-edge technologies, revitalize herbal research, and strongly promote the development and modernization of TCM.


herbgenomics (bencaogenomics) traditional Chinese medicine omics practical application 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81573398) and CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS, 2016-I2M-3-016).

Supplementary material

11427_2018_9352_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (104 kb)
Table S1 Several key enzymes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of specific active compounds


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Lab of Chinese Medicine Resources Conservation, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China, Institute of Medicinal Plant DevelopmentPeking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Yunnan Branch, Institute of Medicinal Plant DevelopmentPeking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical SciencesJinghongChina

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