An Ancient Medicinal Plant at the Crossroads of Modern Horticulture and Genetics: Genetic Resources and Biotechnology of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae L., Elaeagnaceae)

  • Igor V. BartishEmail author
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 10)


Sea buckthorn (Hippophae L., Elaeagnaceae) has been exploited by humans for thousands of years on the Quinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and nearby areas. However, the considerable modern economic potential of this plant has started to receive full appreciation only recently. Expanding its traditional use in harsh climatic zones as important source of nutrients, vitamins, and as wood in treeless areas, today this plant is used also on large scales as landscape protection tools against corrosion of soil, and as a source of wide range of products in pharmaceutic, cosmetic, and nutritional supplement industries. This review aims to provide the latest insights from studies on the evolutionary history and biogeography of the genus, structure, and phylogeography of genetic diversity within its species. Understanding the genic and genomic interactions among populations and phylogenetically distant lineages within species of Hippophae should help to improve the efficiency of exploitation of genetic resources in this crop. Research efforts in the past century in breeding, systematics, cytogenetics, biochemistry, and genetics of Hippophae have created a solid background for advances in modern biotechnology of this crop. Recent studies reported application of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and identification of thousands of genes in transcriptomes of sea buckthorn. Analyses of the transcriptomes provided better understanding of gene expression in biochemical pathways of unsaturated fatty acids, some other secondary metabolites, and regulation of gene complexes responsible for adaptation to different categories of abiotic stress. Further studies should focus on the creation of genetic maps of breeding populations; identification of quantitative trait loci, biochemical pathways of synthesis of bioactive secondary metabolites and correspondent genes, molecular mechanisms of tolerance and resistance to abiotic stress, diseases, and pests; and cloning of genes of agricultural importance. Advances in these research areas can lead to genetic engineering of plants with a combination of traits of high horticultural, medicinal, or nutrient value, adapted to specific environments of areas of their cultivation.


Biogeography Genetic diversity Genetic engineering Hippophae rhamnoides Homoploid hybridization Marker-assisted selection Molecular breeding Molecular cloning Phylogeography Population structure 



Financial support for Ph.D. studies by Dongrui Jia and Alexey A. Borisyuk, field trips in 2012–2014 by Igor V. Bartish and Alexey A. Borisyuk, and research of Igor V. Bartish on Hippophae from Alexey L. Kudrin foundation “Strategy” is greatly appreciated.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetic EcologyInstitute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of Czech RepublicPruhoniceCzech Republic

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