The Nucleus

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 3–18 | Cite as

Voyaging through chromosomal studies in hairy root cultures towards unravelling their relevance to medicinal plant research: An updated review

  • Suchitra Banerjee


Agrobacterium rhizogenes induced hairy root cultures offer opportunities as ‘‘chemical factories’’ of medicinal plants owing to their ability to synthesize pharmaceutically desirable phytomolecules as well as novel drug leads. Amongst the major attributes of hairy root cultures, chromosomal stability has always remained as its major strength, that has principally governed its biosynthetic supremacy over other forms of undifferentiated culture-based production alternatives. To date, ample knowledge has accumulated through chromosome-linked genetic stability assessments of hairy roots with credible findings involving diverse medicinal plants. Encouraging recognition of the immense significance of the hairy root based whole genome duplication (polyploidization) strategy has indisputably unearthed a plethora of opportunities to make use of their huge biosynthetic power in diverse medicinal plants. The consequence of gene dosage modulation via autopolyplodization triggering alteration in their expression profiles and consequent amendments in the enzymatic activity has enthused fresh charm to hairy root cultures by strengthening its inherent wealth of Ri T-DNA integration linked “clonal” dynamism. Another practical relevance of this polyploidization approach by successfully unifying its advantages together with that of the hairy root based metabolic engineering approach has further opened up far-reaching opportunities in recent years. Concisely, this review boasts about the inestimable applicability of hairy roots through systematically scrutinizing chromosome and gene-dosage linked futuristic attributes of polyploid hairy roots with their inherent eminence of hormone autotrophy, preponderance of chromosomal stability, relatively low-cost nutritional requirements and receptiveness to pathway engineering/bioreactor up-scaling. All these potentially advance the commercial significance of hairy root technology in realizing optimum productivity of value added phytomolecules and metabolites.


Agrobacterium rhizogenes Hairy roots Medicinal plants Chromosomal stability Polyplodization Secondary metabolites 



I wish to record my highest indebted reverence to Prof. Arun Kumar Sharma, for genially igniting and ceaselessly inspiring my quest to unravel chromosomal dynamism corresponding to diverse physiological functions of medicinal plants with hairy root cultures as an extrapolative articulation emblem. I express my gratefulness to the Director, CSIR-CIMAP, for providing the facilities to carry out similar types of research at the Institute, and to the National Academy of Sciences India,  for financial support through its Platinum Jubilee Senior Scientist Fellowship. I am thankful to my PhD students for their precious inputs in this venture, especially Dr. Sailendra Singh for organizing the published reports in tabular form.


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Copyright information

© Archana Sharma Foundation of Calcutta 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiotechnologyCentral Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP)LucknowIndia

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