Prediction of high CPT yielding ecotypes of Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Graham) Mabb. in Western Ghats using Ecological Niche Modeling
Camptothecin (CPT) is one of anticancer drug that is widely used for treating various cancers. In India, the drug is primarily sourced from natural habitats of the red listed species Nothapodytes nimmoniana. Ecological niche models are potential tools to define and predict the “ecological niche” of a species that exhibit ecological variations. The predicted ecological niche of a species indicates their survival fitness against Bioclimatic variables. The habitat suitability was predicted using Maxent for different ecotypes of Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Graham.) Mabb. In this study the synonymised populations of N. nimmoniana in the Western Ghats were cogitated as five different ecotypes. The predicted habitat suitability of different ecotypes were evaluated and correlated against CPT content using high performance thin layer chromatography. The study shows a significant positive correlation between the predicted habitat quality and chemical content. The ecotypes growing in sites predicted as highly suitable showed high content of camptothecin compared to those growing in poorly suitable sites. Thereby enabling precise identification of “chemical hot-spots” which will eventually establish a strong foot hold on monoculture of the species, an effort towards conservation.
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