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Researchers look to uncover hemp genetics
Monday, November 13, 2017
Researchers from UC-Davis are teaming up with Colorado biotech Front Range Biosciences to study the genome of industrial hemp.
Merry Jane reports:
The UC-Davis project, led by viticulturist and enologist Dario Cantu, will only sequence the genes for hemp, a variety of cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC (read: it won’t get anyone high).
“We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp,” said Cantu in an Oct. 26 press release. “Decoding its genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants.”
Cantu’s lab is only handling the DNA sequencing and computational genetics portion of the project. Tissue culturing, DNA extraction, and funding for the project comes from Front Range Biosciences, which specializes in breeding cannabis and providing disease-free clones to licensed cannabis operations.
The biotech company now studies both hemp and marijuana. The company’s undertaking the effort with UC-Davis to tap into industrial hemp’s agricultural potential including breeding for such traits as disease and draught resistance. Merry Jane reports:
(Jonathan) Vaught, (Front Range Biosciences’ CEO) anticipates his company could create breeds of hemp with new structural properties, so crops grown on a mass scale are easier to harvest with combines. Designing hemp that can produce specific cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids is also in the works, but first the company needs to decipher the plant’s genetic code.
“Nobody really knows the genetics or the backgrounds of where some of these plants came from,” says … Vaught. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there. There’s been a lot of crossbreeding in the black market community over the last thirty to forty years, so it’s really difficult to know, a lot of times, what you actually have.”…
“It’s going to take a community to crack this nut,” Vaught continues. “It’s a brand new genome, it’s a brand new crop. The genetic pool is very mixed up at this point, and there’s just a lot of groundwork we need to do before we can do the really exciting things that people think about with crops.”
Blue Moon Hemp derives it CBD products from industrial hemp.