Scientists Unlock Full Potential of Cannabis by Mapping Its DNA

Cannabis, Potential of Cannabis,

Marijuana is an effective treatment for an array of debilitating medical conditions, from muscular disorders to epilepsy and even the side effects of cancer treatments. However, only now are scientists exploring the full extent of marijuana’s medicinal properties, which for now remain largely unknown. In an attempt to understand the full potential of weed, a new research initiative intends to map its DNA.

In partnership with Front Range Biosciences, or FRB, a biotech company, scientists at the University of California, Davis, hope to address this lack of knowledge by mapping the cannabis genome. In its own words, the team is conducting this genomic research to “advance understanding of cannabis for medical and nutraceutical uses.”

This is not the research team’s first genome mapping project. The group from the University of California, Davis, has mapped the genomes of both the Arabica coffee bean and the cabernet sauvignon grape previously, and now, because of its huge commercial potential, the team intends focusing on the genomic details of the hemp plant.

Dario Cantu, an assistant professor in the department of viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis, had this to say of the project: “We have successfully applied cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and computational approaches to study challenging genomes of diverse crops and associated microorganisms.”

He also said, “We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp. Decoding the genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants.” Cantu and his group of researchers are not the first ones to map the cannabis genome, although his research focuses more on clarifying a medicinal market rather than recreational.

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With geneticist Mowgli Holmes at the helm, one team of scientists at Oregon Health and Science University is currently conducting an enormous project with the ultimate goal of sequencing the DNA of all cannabis types and strains in existence throughout the world today. The joint initiative of Cantu’s team and FRB involves isolating hemp DNA low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Of the joint project, Jonathan Vaught, Chief Executive Officer at FRB, had this to say, “UC Davis is renowned as the leading agriculture university in the world and we are excited to work with Dr. Cantu’s team to improve this crop, to reduce pesticide residues and excessive application of fertilizers, in preparation for production targeting medically beneficial compounds.”

The decision of FRB to involve itself in this research is just part of a rapidly growing trend that is seeing explosive growth in cannabis-related industries throughout the United States. Back in June, a newly released study found between 165,000 people and 235,000 people already employed in jobs fast opening up in the pot industry.

There are now more people working with cannabis than there are dental hygienists, which is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced. By 2020, a recent report predicts that the number of people employed in the weed industry will surpass 250,000, largely due to changing public perception and actual laws regarding the use of recreational marijuana.

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Comments (1)

  1. A.benson November 1, 2017 / 7:24 am / Reply

    Lets see what happen next. Its huge commercial potential, the team intends focusing on the genomic details of the hemp plant.

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