Biotech Updates

Canadian Researchers Conduct First Large-Scale Genetic Study of Cannabis and Hemp

September 2, 2015

A study conducted by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical, and legal implications for this valuable crop.

Led by Jonathan Page, University of British Columbia botanist, and Sean Myles, population geneticist at Dalhousie University, the researchers looked at the genotypes of 81 marijuana and 43 hemp samples. They were able to search for relationships between different plants, and found that cannabis plants, which consist of three species (C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis), are often incorrectly labeled.

"Cannabis breeders and growers often indicate the percentage of Sativa or Indica in a cannabis strain, but they are not very accurate," Page explains. While hemp plants also go by the Latin name C. sativa, researchers discovered that hemp showed a high amount of genetic separation from marijuana, likely due to the breeding of the plants for radically different uses.

For more details, read the news release at the University of British Columbia website.