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An Assessment of the Utility of Universal and Specific Genetic Markers for Opium Poppy Identification

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The proper identification of illicit plants such as Papaver somniferum L (opium poppy) is important for law enforcement agencies. The identification of opium poppy was presently tested using 10 genetic markers that are universal for all plants or specific to a few poppy plants. The genetic distances of universal markers such as nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS), 18S rRNA, plastid rbcL, and trnL-trnF intergenic spacer (IGS) of 14 species included in the Papaveraceae and Fumariaceae family were acquired by sequence comparisons. Both the ITS region and trnL-trnF IGS showed high levels of interspecific divergence. Six Papaver genera-specific markers were developed from coding regions involved in morphine biosynthesis. Three markers (TYDC, NCS, and BBE) produced amplicons only in opium poppy, providing a presence/absence test for opium poppy, while three additional markers (CYP80B1, SAT, and COR) were genus specific. These 10 markers might be useful for the forensic DNA analysis of opium poppy.

Keywords: Papaver somniferum L; forensic science; genetic markers; morphine biosynthesis; narcotic control; profiling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: DNA Analysis Sector, Western District Office of National Institute of Scientific Investigation, 111 Daeduk-Ri, Seosam-Myun, Jangsung-Gun, Chonnam, 515-822, South Korea. 2: DNA Analysis Sector, National Institute of Scientific Investigation, 331-1 Shinwol-7Dong, Yangchun-Ku, Seoul, 158-707, South Korea. 3: Department of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, 664-14 Dukjin-Dong, Dukjin-Gu, Chonju City, Chonbuk, 561-756, South Korea.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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