New distribution record and DNA barcoding of Sapria himalayana Griff. (Rafflesiaceae), a rare and endangered holoparasitic plant from Mizoram, India

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Y. Tunginba Singh
Laldinliana Khiangte
Sagolshem Priyokumar Singh
Hmingremhlua Sailo
Laldinfeli Ralte


Sapria himalayana Griff. is a rare and endangered holoparasitic plant that prefers a specific host (Tetrastigma sp.). It is one of the lesser-known and poorly understood plants facing threats of extinction owing to human interference in the evergreen forests of Mizoram. The flower is the only visible part of this endophyte and blooms from November to December. The plant was encountered for the first time in the evergreen forest near Rullam village in the Serchhip District of Mizoram, India. In the present study, DNA barcoding was used to identify the plants, and the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of S. himalayana was amplified and sequenced. The ITS2 sequence could accurately identify up to the species level for this endangered species. The absence of the ribulose-biphosphate carboxylase gene (rbcL) region in the genome supports its holoparasitic nature. Hence, DNA barcoding can help in taxonomic and biodiversity research and aid in selecting taxa for various molecular ecology and population genetics studies. The phylogenetic tree was analyzed using the maximum-likelihood method, and our findings showed that species from different families were clearly discriminated in a phylogenetic tree. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of DNA barcoding using ITS2 region of S. himalayana from Mizoram, India.

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