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Testing & Processing Potency testing, Omics

Spot the Difference

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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  1. 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
  2. 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

About the Author

Charlotte Barker

Associate Content Director

After studying biology at Imperial College London, I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals, and I’ve spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine. Attracted by the creativity, talent and passion of the team, I joined Texere Publishing in 2014, where I’m now Associate Content Director and Editor of The Cannabis Scientist.

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