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Sumita Jha

Phone +91-33-2461 5445
Fax +91-33-2461 4849

UGC Research Scientist A(Lecturer) , Department of Botany, Calcutta University ( 1985- 1990).

Lecturer ,Department of Botany, Calcutta University (1990-1993).

Reader in Botany ,Calcutta University (1993- 2001),

Professor in Botany , Calcutta University( 2001 till date).


Area of specialization: Cytogenetics and medicinal plant biotechnology

Our interest cover a wide area of research in medicinal and economic plants including study of genetic diversity and
chromosome constitution as associated with difference in chemical contents, in vitro propagation and conservation of
recalcitrant species, and enhanced production of secondary metabolites in vitro and through transgenesis.

A comprehensive and critical analysis of the cytological races of Indian squill and their main active principles led to
establishment of the fact that Indian squill , which was considered a mixture of Urginea (Drimea)and Scilla (Ledebouria),
consists of U. indica only as S.indica was completely devoid of scilladienolides contrary to earlier claims .In Urginea
indica, Indian squill, along with success in micropropagation , chromosomal diversity has been correlated with
bufadienolide content of selected genotypes. Methods have also been developed for rapid propagation of species of
Ruscus , Bowiea , Smilax,Cephaelis ,Withania ,Tylophora ,Taxus ,Gloriosa,Plumbago,Bacopa as well as in Tea and
Cashew nut - the two plantation crops. While karyotype stability in long term callus derived plants have been
demonstrated in Rucus hypophyllum and Crepis tectorum, variability in chromososme number and structure has been
demonstrated in TC regenerated plants of Indian squill. On the basis of work done in the laboratory during 1990s, it was
suggested that induction of mitosis in polytenic nuclei in vitro could be a probable source of somaclonal variation in this

We have been working on production of principal secondary metabolites in in vitro cultures of a number of
economically important, indigenous medicinal plants. Tissue culture for biomass production and secondary
metabolite accumulation is an important biotechnological approach which has been applied for enhancement in production
of several active principles such as bufadienolides like scillaren and proscillaridin,alkaloids like emetine,cephaeline,
colchicine, tyolophorin, withanolides, artemisinin, forskolin, taxol ,taxanes ,and podophyllotoxins ,in cell cultures,organ
cultures and in micropropagated plants of selected genotypes of medicinal plants. In Ipecac, technique could be devised
to overcome recalcitrance and production of alkaloid in cell and root culture.An innovative process for the production of
podophyllotoxin in cell culture of Indian Podophyllum has been developed for which a patent has been filed on

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improvement in production of pododphyllotoxins in cell cultures of Podophyllum hexandrum.

Transformed cell and organ cultures have proved valuable in the study of different aspects of secondary
metabolism as the transformed cultures are more stable genetically and biochemically over long periods in culture.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation in Coleus forskohlii for forskolin production was first reported by
this group in 1996 and in Withania somnifera for production of withanolides in 1999.Since then, the group has developed
transgenic cell and organ cultures using Agrobacterium rhizogenes in a number of rare, endangered indigenous medicinal
plants for production of high value pharmaceuticals.

Improvement in plant growth and secondary metabolite production through genetic mimicry of pathogen attack:
In collaboration with a French group, we have contributed to the understanding of the effect of crypt expression in
transgenic hairy root cultures of several medicinal plants aiming at enhancement of bioactive secondary metabolites. The
rational of such study was based on the principle of transgenic mimicry of pathogen attack that apparently expected to
stimulate the synthesis of natural products. The findings are generally positive, and a proposition that natural
transformation with genes encoding the production of microbial elicitors could influence interactions between plants and
other organisms was put forward. In an effort to genetically mimic the observed effects of cryptogein, we employed
Agrobacterium rhizogenes to insert a synthetic gene encoding cryptogein into the roots of Bacopa monnieri. This genetic
transformation was associated with stimulation in both bacoside production and growth. In whole plants of Bacopa
monnieri, transformation with the cryptogein gene led, to increases in the bacosides. In the present study of biochemical
phenotype, we show that transgenic mimicry is correlated with increased secondary metabolite production in transformed
root cultures and whole plants. We propose that natural transformation with genes encoding the production of microbial
elicitors could influence interactions between plants and other organisms. On the basis of results achieved, a patent has
been recently filed by us.

Presently,further studies to evaluate metabolic perturbence in cryptogein cotransformed root cultures and transformed
plants are being pursued in Nicotiana tabacum and Withania somnifera in collaboration with Agricultural and Food
Engineering division,IIT, Kharagpur as well as in several indigenous medicinal plants including Arachis hypogea, Bacopa
monnieri, Plumbago sp., Swertia sp., Tylophora indica,.

Chromosomal Explorations, phylogeny and diversity in Orchidaceae and Hyacinthaceae:

Although chromosome number counts provide indispensable information on genetic discontinuities within and among
species, there has been very little information on the karyomorphology in Orchidaceae. It is estimated that not more than
10% of the members of this family have been analyzed cytologically mainly because of a relatively high diversity in
chromosome numbers and a comparatively small or even minute chromosome size. A detailed account has been
reported of attendant polysomatic variation in planta and elucidation of the modal karyotype in the difficult-to-study
endangered orchid Bulbophyllum auricomum, known as the Royal Flower of Myanmar .The somatic chromosome
number of B. auricomum (2n = 38) is reported for the first time. The polyploidization in seed-derived plants clearly
indicates the heterogeneous nature of orchid seed stock.

The aim of the ongoing research on members of Hyacinthaceaea is to gather consistent cytological information to
consolidate our existing knowledge, elucidate taxonomic relationship and obtain possible insights into the evolutionary
processes within the groups.Taxonomic delimitation of Hyacinthaceae has been controversial since the time of Linnaeus
due to the absence of reliable discriminating characters. Pattern of genome size variation can be considered as an added
character to aid inter- and intrageneric relationship of the group. However, reports on genome size estimation by flow
cytometric analysis of these plants are rare due to the presence of mucilage which causes problem with nuclei sample
preparation.An improved method of genome size estimation by flow cytometry in Hyacinthaceae has been developed for
determining 2C values of Drimia spp, Ledebouria spp.Dipcadi spp, Ornithogallum spp., etc. Fluorescent chromosome
banding were performed Indian species of Drimia for the first time to elucidate taxonomic relationship and obtain possible
insights into the evolutionary processes within this group.

The genus Asparagus native to South Africa comprises three subgenera of cladode bearing plants: Protasparagus,
Asparagus and Myrsiphyllum. The interspecific delimitation of the subgenus Protasparagus is ill-defined because
species-level phylogeny has not been clearly resolved till date. We have demonstrated an explicit interspecific phylogeny
of this subgenus based on ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) sequence conservation.
Furthermore, we analyzed the chloroplast DNA tRNA-Leu intron sequences of nine taxa of Protasparagus along with their
cladode morphology, anatomy and stomatal characteristics to illuminate the obtained rDNA ITS phylogeny of this

Evaluation of Cytogenetic diversity in some genera of Cucurbitaceae:Hermaphroditism is the ruling phenomenon in

most of the flowering plants in terms of their choice of sexual expression. In cucurbits, we find a number of genera with
varied sexual systems. Also, cucurbits are a large vegetable yielding family for which identification and understanding the
modes of sex expression in different species can help to build basic knowledge to improve breeding strategies in future.
Considering these aspects, chromosome evolution and development of molecular marker in dioecious cucurbit genera has
been the prime objectives of present programme. Cytological investigations form an indispensible part of the process of
study of evolution in sex chromosome. Karyotype analysis and meiotic behavior of the typical dioecious cucurbit Coccinia
indica, was done in detail by CMA/ DAPI staining through EMA method applied for the first time in this dioecious
species.In collaboration with SOU University Biotechnology Department, we have developed an ISSR based STS marker
for sex identification in pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.) and a SCAR marker in Coccinea grandis.

We are part of the team who have developed a Comprehensive Chromosome database for Plants ( funded by DBT-GOI)
recognised as one of the Bioresource Information Centre (BRIC-III) of Indian Bioresource Information Network funded
by Department of Biotechnology(GOI) for further compilation of primary data on plant chromosomes from Indian

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In the M.Sc. (Botany) First Semester course in Anatomy & Developmental Biology, I participate in the course lectures and
practicals in Developmental Biology. In the Second Semester, I teach and Coordinate the course in Genetics and
Genomics, both theoretical and practicals. In the M.Sc. specialization , I teach, supervise projects and coordinate the
course Plant genetics and Genomics.


1. Establishment of Portal for Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN): BRIC-III:Plant Chromosome Information
Centre, CAS, Dept.of Botany, CU funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (2011-)

2.. Karyotype evolution and phylogenetic variation in ITS sequence complexity in Urginea (Drimia) and other related taxa
of Hyacinthaceae funded by CSIR (2012-)

3. Perturbing phenolic natural product metabolism in tobacco by expressing a cryptogein gene of novel elicitor function
funded by Department of Science and Technology(GOI) (2012-)

4. Evaluation of cytogenetic diversity in some genera of Cucurbitaceae and

characterization of sex linked genes in Coccinia through SCAR marker approach funded by Department of
Biotechnology(GOI)( 2013-)

5. Network Programme for Enrichment and Update of Plant Chromosome Database for
Spermatophytes and Archegoniates
funded by Department of Biotechnology(GOI)( 2015-)

Research Group (Present):
Dr. Dipasree Roy Chowdhury, RA, DBT Network Programme (

Dr. Amrita Basu, (

Dr. Partha sarathi Saha,(

Mr. Bipradut Sil, SRF, CSIR-NET (

Mr. Mihir Halder,SRF, UGC-NET (;,presently Asst. Prof. WBES.

Mr. Bipalb Kumar Bhowmick, SRF,DST-Inspire fellow (UGC NET) (; presently Asst
Professor, Department of Botany, Scottish Church College

Mr. Pijush Paul, SRF, UGC-NET (

Ms. Tapojita Samaddar, UGC- RFSMS Fellow (

Ms. Sayantani Nath , SRF,DST -Inspire Fellow(CSIR NET) (,presently Asst. Prof. WBES.

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Ms. Sayantika Sarkar, SRF, IBIN-DBT Project.

Mr. Rahul Bose, JRF, CSIR-NET.

Ms.Ipshita Ghosh, SRF,DBT Project

Ph.D. Awarded:
1. Dr. Sudripta Das,(Ph.D. , Botany,1998)
Scientist, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development



2. Dr. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, (Ph.D., Biochemistry,1998) Asst. Prof., Dept. of Microbiology,

Dinabandhu Andrews College, Kolkata

3. Dr. Swagata Ray, (Ph.D., Botany,2000) Asst. Prof., Dept. of Botany, Jogmaya Devi College,

4. Dr. Mukul Manjari Datta, (Ph.D., Horticulture, 2004) (

5. Dr. Moumita Bandyopadhyay, (Ph.D., Botany, 2005) Asst. Professor, Dept. of Botany,
Calcutta University (

6. Dr. Kuntal Narayan Chowdhury, (Ph.D., Botany,2005) Asst Prof., Dept.of Botany,
Vivekananda College, Thakurpukur, Kolkata (

7. Dr. Seemanti Ghosh , (Ph.D. , Botany,2006) Asst Prof., Dept. of Botany, Bethune College,
Kolkata (

8. Dr. Anrini Majumder, (Ph.D., Botany,2009 ) (

9. Dr. Myo Ma Ma Than (Ph.D., Genetics,2010) Scientist, Mingalardon Orchid Garden, Yangon,
Myanmar (

10. Dr. Sukanya Majumdar (Ph.D. , Biotechnology,2011) (

11. Dr. Nishakant Pandey (Ph.D., Biotechnology,2012 )( )

12. Dr. Dipasree Roy Chowdhury (Ph.D. Botany,2014 ) (

13.Dr. Smita Ray , (Ph.D.Botany ,2015) Asst. Prof. ,Dept. of Botany,Bethune College

14.Dr.Amrita Basu ,(Ph.D.Genetics,2015),(

Download complete publications list

SCOPUS 7202726898
Author ID
Please click the following URL for updated record:

ResearcherID: B-6786-2014

Publications 2011-2015

122. Mihir Halder, S Jha. Enhanced trans-resveratrol production in genetically transformed root cultures of Peanut
(Arachis hypogaea L.) Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult (2016) 124:555572

DOI 10.1007/s11240-015-0914-0

121.Seemanti Ghosh, B.Ghosh and S.Jha Role of Exogenous Carbohydrate and Amino Acid Sources on Biomass
and Colchicine Production in Non-transformed Root Cultures of Gloriosa superba
Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology (2015) 25(2):247-256

3. 120. D Roychowdhury, B Chaubey, S Jha. The Fate of Integrated Ri T-DNA rol Genes during Regeneration via
Somatic Embryogenesis in Tylophora indica. Journal of Botany. (2015). DOI: 10.1155/2015/707831

119.Biplab kumar Bhowmick and Sumita Jha (2015)Differential heterochromatin distribution, flow cytometric genome size
and meiotic behavior of chromosomes in three Cucurbitaceaespecies.Scientia Horticulturae 193 (2015)

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118. Pijush Paul, Sayantika Sarkar and Sumita Jha (2015) Effects associated with insertion
of cryptogein gene utilizing Ri and Ti plasmids on morphology and secondary metabolites are
stable in Bacopa monnieri transformed plants grown in vitro and ex vitro" Plant Biotechnology
Reports : DOI 10.1007/s11816-015-0360-9 (2015)

117. Amrita Basu, Raj Kumar Joshi and Sumita Jha (2015)Genetic Transformation of Plumbago
zeylanica with Agrobacterium rhizogenes Strain LBA 9402 and Characterization of Transformed
Root Lines. Plant Tissue Cult. & Biotech. 25(1): 21-35,( 2015)

116. T Samaddar, MMM Than, TB Jha, S Jha (2015) Cytogenetic and DNA fingerprinting analysis in three
species of Swertia from Eastern Himalaya

(10.1080/00087114.2015.1032610) Journal: Caryologia , Volume: 68, Issue: 03, pages 207 - 216. (Download
Current Citation: RIS BibTex) Published Online: 20 Jul 2015 (2015).

115. BK Bhowmick, S Jha Dynamics of sex expression and chromosome diversity in

Cucurbitaceae: a story in the making Journal of Genetics 94(4): 793-808 (2015).

114. BK Bhowmick, M Yamamoto, S Jha Chromosomal localization of 45S rDNA, sex-specific C

values, and heterochromatin distribution in Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt Protoplasma
DOI:10.1007/s00709-015-0797-2 (2015).

113. D Roychowdhury, A Basu, S Jha Morphological and molecular variation in Ri-transformed

root lines are stable in long term cultures of Tylophora indica Plant Growth Regulation
75:443-453. (2015).

112. B Sil, C Mukherjee, S Jha, A Mitra Metabolic shift from withasteroid formation to
phenylpropanoid accumulation in cryptogein-cotransformed hairy roots of Withania somnifera
(L.) Dunal. Protoplasma : 252 (4) 1097-1110; DOI:10.1007/s00709-014-0743-8 (2015).

111. PS Saha, S Ray, M Sengupta, S Jha Molecular phylogenetic studies based on rDNA
ITS, cpDNA trnL intron sequence and cladode characteristics in nine Protasparagus taxa.
Protoplasma. : 252 (4 ): 1121-1134; DOI: 10.1007/s00709-014-0746-5 (2015)

110. A Basu, S Jha Genetic transformation of Digitalis purpurea L. by Agrobacterium rhizogenes

Journal of the Botanical Society of Bengal 68(2): 89-93 (2014).

109. S Nath, TB Jha, SK Mallick, S Jha. Karyological relationships in Indian species of Drimia
based on fluorescent chromosome banding and nuclear DNA amount.
Protoplasma252(1):283-99 (2015)

108. S Nath, SK Mallick, S Jha. An improved method of genome size estimation by flow
cytometry in five mucilaginous species of Hyacinthaceae. Cytometry Part A. 85(10): 833-40

107. BK Bhowmick, S Nanda, S Nayak, S Jha, RK Joshi. An APETALA3 MADS-box linked

SCAR marker associated with male specific sex expression in Coccinia grandis (L). Voigt.
Scientia Horticulturae 176:85-90 (2014).

106. S Ray, T Samanta, A Majumder, M Bandyopadhyay, S Jha. Cytogenetic characterization of

Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformed root lines of Rauvolfia serpentina. Nucleus 57(2): 105-
112 (2014).

105. S Ray, T Samanta, A Majumder, M Bandyopadhyay, S Jha. Genetic transformation of Sarpagandha

(Rauvolfia serpentina) with Agrobacterium rhizogenes for identification of high alkaloid yielding lines"
Acta Physiologiae Plantarum. 36(6): 1599-1605 (2014).

104. B Sil and S Jha. "Plants: The Future Pharmaceutical Factory,"American Journal of Plant
Sciences 5(3): 319-327. (2014).

103. T Samaddar, S Jha, TB Jha. Indian Swertia from Eastern Himalaya: Strategies of
Conservation and Biotechnological Improvements. In: Rybczinski, Jan J.; Davey, Michael R.;
Mikula, Anna (Eds.) The Gentianaceae - Volume 1: Characterization and Ecology ;pgs

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279-302; ISBN 978-3-642-54009-7;

102. T Samaddar, B Chaubey, S Jha and TB Jha. Determination of swertiamarin and

amarogentin content and evaluation of antibacterial activity in Eastern Himalayan species of
Swertia L. Pharmacognosy Communications, 3(4): 64-70 (2013).

101. D Roychowdhury, B Ghosh, B Chaubey, S Jha. Genetic and morphological stability of six-year-old
transgenic Tylophora indica plants. The Nucleus, 56(2) 81-89; Springer-Verlag (2013).

100. S Nath, PS Saha and S Jha. Medicinal Bulbous plants: Biology, Phytochemistry and
Biotechnology;. In : K G Ramawat, Jean-Michel Merillon (edts) Bulbous Plants Biotechnology;
CRC Press; 2013; Pages 338369; Print ISBN: 978-1-4665-8967-4;eBook ISBN:
978-1-4665-8968-1; DOI: 10.1201/b16136-20 (2013).

99. P Paul, M Halder, S Jha. Alkaloids derived from tyrosine: Penethylisoquinoline

(autumnaline,colchicine). In: K.G. Ramawat, J.M. Merillon, M. Henry (eds) Handbook of
Natural Products- Phytochemistry, Botany, Metabolism. Springer Berlin Heidelberg;2013, pp
461-478; DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-22144-6_16 (2013).

98. Majumdar S., Basu A., Paul P., Halder M., Jha S.: Bacosides and Neuroprotection. In:Ramawat K.,
Merillon J. (Ed.) Handbook of Natural Products: Springer Reference (
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2013. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference363188
2013-01-21 (2013).

97. D Roychowdhury, A Majumder and S Jha. Agrobacterium rhizogenes mediated

transformation in medicinal plants: prospects and challenges. In: Suman Chandra, Hemant
Lata and Ajit Varma (eds.) Biotechnology for Medicinal Plants: Micropropagation and
Improvement. Chapter 2 DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-29974-2_2 Springer-Verlag Berlin
Heidelberg 2013, pp.29-68 (2013).

96. S Nanda, B Kar, S Nayak, S Jha, RK Joshi. Development of an ISSR based STS marker for
sex identification in pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.) Scientia Horticulturae 150:
1115 (2013).

95. BK Bhowmick, TB. Jha, S Jha (2012) Chromosome analysis in the dioecious cucurbit
Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt. Chromosome Science .15: 9-15(Society for Chromosome
Research, Japan).

94. PS Saha, K Nandagopal, B Ghosh and S Jha Molecular characterization of aromatic Oryza
sativa L. cultivars from West Bengal, India. The Nucleus. 55(2): 83-88 (2012).

93. S Majumdar, S Garai and S Jha. Use of the cryptogein gene to stimulate the accumulation
of bacopasaponins in transgenic Bacopa monnieri plants Plant Cell Reports DOI
10.1007/s00299-012-1303-3 (2012).

92. MMM Than, A Pal, S Jha. Plant regeneration from callus cultures in endangered orchid
Bulbophyllum auricomum Lindl. Propagation of Ornamental Plants. Vol. 12, 2: 102-108

91. A Majumder and S Jha. Hairy roots: A promising tool for phytoremediation. Invited review in
T. Satyanarayana, BN Johri and Anil Prakash (eds.) Microbes in Environmental
Management: Microbes and Environment; Chapter 27 DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-2229-3_27,
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. pp. 607-629 (2012).

90. T Samaddar, S Nath, M Halder, B Sil, D Roychowdhury, S Sen and S Jha. Karyotype
analysis of three important traditional Indian medicinal plants, Bacopa monnieri, Tylophora
indica and Withania somnifera. The Nucleus DOI:10.1007/s13237-012-0048-2 (2012).

89. S Majumdar, S Garai and S Jha. Genetic transformation of Bacopa monnieri by wild type
strains of Agrobacterium rhizogenes stimulates production of bacopasaponins in transformed
calli and plants. Plant Cell Reports (Springer- Verlag) DOI 10.1007/s00299-011-1035-9 A
contribution to the Special Issue: Plant Biotechnology in Support of the Millennium
Development Goals. 30:941954 (2011).

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88. MMM Than, A Pal and S Jha. Chromosome number and modal karyotype in a polysomatic
endangered orchid, Bulbophyllum auricomum Lindl., the Royal Flower of Myanmar Plant
Systematics and Evolution (Springer-Verlag) (2011) 294:167-175.

87. MMM Than, A Majumder, A Pal and S Jha. Genomic variations among in vitro regenerated
Bulbophyllum auricomum Lindl. plants. The Nucleus 54(1):917 (2011).

Collaborators and Tie

Prof. Sheikh Alam, Molecular Cytogenetics Lab., Department of Botany, Dhaka University,Bangladesh

Prof.SR Yadav, Department of Botany, Shivaji University , Kolhapur

Prof. Adinpunya Mitra , Agricultural & Food Engineering Department,Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Prof. S. Nayak, Head,Dept. of Biotechnology,Siksha O Anusandhan University, Bhubeneshwar


1. Plant Tissue Culture Association of India ( life member)

2. Indian Botanical Society (Life member)

3. Society of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Life Member)

4. Indian Science News Association (Life member)

5. All India Society of Cell Biology and Genetics ( Member: Executive Committee)

6.Botanical Society of Bengal(Life member)

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