Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The cannabis genome: How hemp got high

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Throughout history, Cannabis sativa has been exploited by humanity. Hemp seed oil is rich in omega 6, and its fiber is used in the production of fabrics. Marijuana is known for its mind-altering properties. The changes to the genome that led to drug-producing plants is a mystery of cannabis evolution, but one that has now been solved, thanks to new research.

Throughout history, Cannabis sativa has been exploited by humanity. Hemp seed oil is rich in omega 6, an essential fatty acid, and its fibre is used in the production of fabrics. Marijuana is known for its mind-altering properties and has been used medicinally for over 2700 years. The changes to the genome that led to drug-producing plants is a mystery of cannabis evolution, but one that has now been solved, thanks to an article published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology.

A team of researchers led by Drs Jon Page and Tim Hughes from Canada sequenced DNA from the potent Purple Kush (PK) marijuana strain, which is widely used for medicinal purposes. The PK genome and transcriptome (genes that are switched on) were then compared to those of 'Finola' hemp, and scanned for differences which might explain why marijuana produces tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), the active ingredient of cannabis, while hemp strains lack THCA but contain the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

The transcriptome held the clues to solving this genomic puzzle. Dr Page explained, "The transcriptome analysis showed that the THCA synthase gene, an essential enzyme in THCA production, is turned on in marijuana, but switched off in hemp." Dr Hughes continued, "Detailed analysis of the two genomes suggests that domestication, cultivation, and breeding of marijuana strains has caused the loss of the enzyme (CBDA synthase) which would otherwise compete for the metabolites used as starting material in THCA production."

Dr Page added: "Plants continue to be a major source of medicines, both as herbal drugs and as pharmaceutical compounds. Although more than twenty plant genomes have been published, ranging from major food crops such as rice and corn, to laboratory models like Arabidopsis, this is the first genome of a medicinal plant. Decoding the cannabis genome will help answer basic questions about the biology of Cannabis sativa and further the development of its myriad applications including strains for pharmaceutical production, and hemp plants with improved productivity and fatty acid profiles."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Harm van Bakel, Jake M Stout, Atina G Cote, Carling M Tallon, Andrew G Sharpe, Timothy R Hughes and Jonathan E Page. The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa. Genome Biology, 2011 DOI: 10.1186/gb-2011-12-10-409

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "The cannabis genome: How hemp got high." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024443.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2011, October 20). The cannabis genome: How hemp got high. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024443.htm
BioMed Central. "The cannabis genome: How hemp got high." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024443.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


How Hemp Got High: Cannabis Genome Mapped

Oct. 20, 2011 Researchers have sequenced the genome of Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces both industrial hemp and marijuana, and in the process revealed the genetic changes that led to the plant's ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins