Amway, the largest direct selling company in the world, has successfully mapped the Chrysanthemum genome through its global research facilities, the Amway Botanical Research Center (ABRC), in collaboration with the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (ICMM).
Earlier this month, Amway, based in Ada, Michigan, announced the completion of the first-ever genome sequencing of the Chrysanthemum, a genetically complex flowering plant thought to have several benefits in the areas of beauty and nutrition. The team at the ABRC in Wuxi, China, announced the mapping breakthrough on Dec. 18, with help from the ICMM as well as nanopore technology, one of the most advanced technologies available.
“It was a bit of a race because we knew that several groups were trying to solve this sequence and we really wanted to be the first in the world to figure it out,” said Amway Vice President of Research and Development Catherine Ehrenberger. “Being the first to have the sequencing of the genome of Chrysanthemum is important for us from a business point of view, but it’s also really important for the scientific credibility story of Amway.”
The Chrysanthemum genome, considered by scientists to be the most complicated genome in the plant kingdom, will lead to new Amway health and wellness products featuring key ingredients from the plant. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), potential benefits are believed to range from bone health to improved blood circulation.
“The more we can learn from the genome the better we can cultivate the plant, choose which species to study, under what condition to grow it, and so forth,” said Jia Chen, vice president of the Amway Botanical Research Center. “Once we have this knowledge it can really help us in the future a great deal.”
When deciding which TCM plant to study, Amway scientists looked at bringing Eastern philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine together with Western analytics.
“The analytics drove us to Chrysanthemum,” said Chen. “There was bioactivity there that aligned with products we wanted to develop, so that’s how we decided on this particular plant.”
The discovery is one of several milestones for the ABRC, a global research center established in 2015 and dedicated to discovering the benefits of TCM plants for use in Nutrilite™ and Artistry™ products.