The importance of terpenes in both nature and human application is difficult to overstate. Basic knowledge of terpene and isoprene biosynthesis and chemistry has accelerated the pace at which scientists have come to understand many plant biochemical and metabolic processes. The abundance and diversity of terpene compounds in nature can have ecosystem-wide influences. Although terpenes have permeated human civilization since the Egyptians, terpene synthesis pathways are only now being understood in great detail. The use of bioinformatics and molecular databases has largely contributed to analyzing exactly how and when terpenes are synthesized. Additionally, terpene synthesis is beginning to be understood in respect to the various stages of plant development. Much of this knowledge has been contributed by the plant model, Arabidopsis thaliana. Considering the advances in plant terpene knowledge and potential uses, it is conceivable that they may soon be used in agrobiotechnology.
Key words: Terpenes, terpene synthase, secondary metabolites, transgenic plants
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