Researchers at Washington State University have mapped the gene networks that regulate the production of cannabinoids and terpenoids found in cannabis trichomes. The study was published in the journal Plant Physiology.
Due to federal and University restrictions, samples were handled off-campus at EVIO Labs, an Oregon Liquor Control Commission certified lab. The team isolated trichomes from nine commercially available strains and a third party sequenced their RNA. The WSU researchers only handled a high-resolution data set that clearly marked each gene and its end product. By creating unique genetic fingerprints for each strain, the researchers say improved breeding techniques, proper strain identification, and the testing of various CBD health claims and the validity of the synergistic entourage effect are now possible.
“One of the things that needs to happen in the emerging market is that you know what you’re selling,” said Mark Lange, a lead researcher on the study. “You can’t just call it something and then that’s good. We need to be very clear that this is the cannabinoid profile that is associated with, say, Harlequin – it has a specific cannabinoid profile, a specific terpenoids profile, and that’s what it is. If it has a different name, then it should have a different profile. Currently you can do whatever you want.”
“There is a reason why all these have different names – because a lot of them are very different. But some strains with different names are actually very similar. The bottom line with strains is there is a lot of confusion.” – Lange, in a WSU News Report
Cannabis genetic testing is emerging as a hot topic as the legal cannabis industry matures. For example, a recent controversy involving an announcement by Phylos Bioscience that they were starting a cannabis breeding program with genetics that was collected for a so-called “Galaxy Strain Database and mapping project” outraged growers who had donated their genetics to the project.
In 2015, the Biotech Institute filed three strain patents that if enforced could cause major disruptions to the cannabis industry as most strains fall within the THC, CBD, and terpene concentration ratios outlined by their patent, according to a High Times report.
Using blockchain technology, services like Strain Seek are registering strain genetics to protect breeders’ intellectual property.
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