Spot the Difference
Genetic test can distinguish cannabis from hemp in minutes
Charlotte Barker | | Quick Read
A new PCR test developed by Japanese researchers can quickly and accurately distinguish between drug-type and fiber-type (hemp) cannabis, and hybrids of the two (1).
The test looks for variation in both the THC and CBD synthase precursor genes – allowing more accurate results than testing for differences in either gene alone. And as the approach doesn’t rely on directly measuring cannabinoids, it can be used to test seeds and other non-cannabinoid containing parts of the plant.
The authors do add a caveat: genotype does not always perfectly predict phenotype (environmental factors are important too), but they believe the 10-minute test will prove useful for forensic investigators and cultivators alike.
The paper comes hot on the heels of research from the University of Minnesota that also used PCR to predict cannabinoid content of cannabis plants – based on the CBD synthase gene (2).
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- T Yamamuro et al, “Rapid identification of drug-type and fiber-type cannabis by allele specific duplex PCR,” Forensic Sci Intl, 318, 110634 (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2020.110634
- JP Wenger et al., “Validating a predictive model of cannabinoid inheritance with feral, clinical, and industrial Cannabis sativa,” Am J Bot, 107, 1423 (2020). DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1550