Scientists are looking to push to map the entire cannabis genome. They believe that the knowledge gleaned from this accomplishment will be monumental towards understanding everything about the plants from how they grow and how to breed them, to how they affect the human body.
The University of Saskatchewan led a study that highlighted the importance of mapping this information. The study was published in the Annual Review of Plant Biology. The team for the study included scientists from Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and the U.S. They state in the study that it will take a coordinated effort to accomplish the task.
The authors believe that there are still huge gaps in what we know about cannabis. They found that not even 50% of the cannabis genome has been accurately mapped. They estimate that 10% is missing and between 10-25% is unmapped.
Without an accurate map, scientists will find it much more difficult to see where they are going. Their efforts to develop a molecular breeding program. If companies want to have access to programs that are comparable to other crops like corn or soy, they will need this information as a foundation to build upon.
In the future, as scientists look to team up with companies to develop new cultivars of cannabis sativa, they will look to the genome as a blueprint. The higher the quality blueprint they have to work with, the more effective they can be.
The data will also be necessary for setting up a core collection of genotypes to study different cannabis traits. Being able to isolate and identify these different traits will give researchers the clinical precision to determine when and how cannabis is effective in treating an illness.
According to the study, “If we can publish case studies to show that certain compounds can treat human disorders with statistical significance, then getting such information into the medicare system – for example, as a basis for a Drug Identification Number assigned to a drug product before it can be marketed in Canada – would be of great benefit to companies.”