University researchers hoping to unlock ginseng secrets



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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Asheville are trying to unlock the chemical and genetic secrets of wild ginseng, perhaps giving growers a better chance to produce a wild-simulated ginseng.

The Asheville Citizen-Times (http://avlne.ws/1NTqQFF ) reports that dealers have been willing to pay up to $700 per pound of the plant that grows wild in western North Carolina.

Earlier this year, UNCA biology faculty members Jonathan Horton, David Clarke and Jen Ward received a $98,872 grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to continue their research, which started in 2008.

Horton says increasing the value of cultivated ginseng would help reduce the overharvesting and poaching of wild ginseng.

The researchers are hoping to find the plant's famous medicinal compounds in ginseng leaves and shoots, instead of just the roots.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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The Associated Press

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