Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (3): 304-314.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017331

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“Science, art and responsibility”: The scientific and social function changes of a 500-year history of botanical gardens. II. Intension of sciences

Hongwen Huang*()   

  1. South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
  • Received:2017-12-19 Accepted:2018-02-05 Online:2018-03-20 Published:2018-05-05
  • Contact: Huang Hongwen
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The advance trajectory of scientific research in the world botanical gardens over past 500 years is not only a microcosm of the whole history of biological sciences, but also reveal the unremitting pursuit of mankind exploration and utilization of plant resources for development of economy and society. From the 16th-17th centuries, botanical garden’s main studies on medicinal plants and drug discovery, to the 18th-20th centuries’ founding plant taxonomy and then branching to various botanical disciplines, to nowadays’ plant molecular biology and genomics, metabolomics and so on, scientific research connotation of botanical gardens have been mainstream process during these centuries when not only laid the foundation of plant taxonomy in the 18th century, but also made indelible contributions to many biological discoveries and establishment of theoretical system since the 18th century. Meanwhile, since the 16th century, the introduction and domestication of crop plants across continents, regions and countries have profoundly changed the world economic and social structure and affected the rise and fall of many countries. The botanical gardens have played a pilot and leading role for introduction and spread of crop plants over the past 500 years. This paper attempts to review historical track of intension of sciences of botanical gardens in recent 500 years for revealing future trend of the research fields relating to plant macro and micro biology and era of big data in today’s botanical gardens in order to provide reference of valuable thinking for scientific research in botanical gardens of China.

Key words: plant taxonomy, plant biology, plant introduction and spread, ex situ conservation, cultivated plants