University of California Davis To Map Cannabis Genome

Cannabis Genome

photo by Tony Webster

Understanding the cannabis genome is important as the plant gets furthered studied for health and commercial purposes. New research project at a public California university will bring new insight into beneficial propagation and strain culture.

Scientists at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) will map the cannabis genome, focusing on the medicinal and nutritional components of the plant.

UC Davis has set itself up for being a hub of cannabis information and research, setting up zoning for research and offering an undergraduate biology course on how cannabis and cannabinoids effect the body.

“We have successfully applied cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and computational approaches to study challenging genomes of diverse crops and associated microorganisms. We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp. Decoding its genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants,” said Professor Dario Cantu in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. Dr. Cantu is part of the research team along with scientists from the Cantu lab.

Partnering with the university is Front Range Biosciences from Colorado. The biotech company focuses on identifying commercially relevant strains and tissue culture propagation.

“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,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, CEO of FRB.

The project will use isolated DNA from cannabis cultivars that are low in THC and used for industrial hemp purposes from Front Range Biosciences. The Samples will be sent to UC Davis for genetic sequencing and analysis to create a better genome reference for cannabis. Genetic sequencing is already happening with the company Medical Genomics creating a repository of cannabis genomes that will help standardize strain names and classification.

The new research follows gene sequencing of arabica coffee beans and wine grapes by UC Davis. The research findings will be shared publicly.

“That information will be available for breeders to be able to emphasize certain aspects, so I think that’s a big step forward and consistent with our public mission,” said Dan Flynn, a spokesperson from UC Davis.

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