The Cannabis Genome Puzzle
Cannabis is complex. Socially, politically, medically, commercially, and scientifically, there is probably not a more misunderstood, misrepresented, and underutilized plant in human history. Recent shifts in social and political attitudes toward cannabis has led to numerous reforms and increased the demand for cannabis-related products. Today, various strains of cannabis are used for medicine, food, fiber, and numerous industrial applications. Given the rapid expansion and monetization of the world-wide cannabis industry, understanding the basics of cannabis biology is critical to extracting the full benefit of this plant. As Tabitha Powledge recently noted, “we remain remarkably ignorant about pot’s properties, including its genetic properties.”
Today, the application of modern, high-throughput genomic technology is broadening our understanding of the plant and providing new tools to further improve our knowledge and utilization of this unique species. Building on the draft genome of Cannabis sativa published in 2011, researchers have been striving to unravel the genomes of multiple strains of cannabis. Having the complete sequence of cannabis is similar to having all the pages of a manual needed to make a cannabis plant. The challenge now is determining how to read the contents of these pages and understand how these many, complex parts work together in cannabis growth and development. An additional scope of genomic research is being able to identify and differentiate between strains and varieties of hemp and cannabis. Cannabis may have thousands of strains, each with unique flowers, aromas, and chemical profiles. What underlies all this variation is variability of the genetic code in the genome. As we learn more about the functions of genes and proteins, this knowledge will have a major impact on the development of new, standardized strains with applications across multiple market sectors.
The development of new strains of cannabis relies on the application of newly developed and evolving genomic tools. As plant breeders develop new strains of cannabis, the genome can be used as a tool to guide plant selection for strain development. Sangre AgroTech is here to research, decode, understand, and develop cannabis to its fullest potential to ease the burdens and sufferings of people everywhere.
Sangre AgroTech is focused on the genetics and breeding of cannabis. Using the tools and technologies of advanced genetic sequencing and genotyping, coupled to trait-driven strain selection, Sangre AgroTech has initiated the whole genome sequencing and annotation of five initial landrace strains. Sangre’s goal is to develop a core collection of plants with validated genomic histories that will provide stable and uniform product to the medicinal markets.