Weed sequenced. No really — weed.
August 23, 2011
DNA sequencing hit a new high with the release of the Cannabis sativa genome, says Nature News.
The raw sequence, done in Amsterdam (where else?), was posted on Amazon’s EC2 public cloud computing service by a young company called Medicinal Genomics, which aims to explore the genomes of therapeutic plants.
Medicinal Genomics founder Kevin McKernan says he estimates the size of the C. sativa genome to be about 400 million bases.
“Ongoing scientific research suggests that the Cannabis plant harbors beneficial compounds as it pertains to cancer apoptosis, antiemesis for HIV and chemotherapy patients, reduction of muscle spasms for multiple sclerosis patients, as well as the treatment of glaucoma, inflammatory diseases, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other health conditions,” according to a statement by the company.
“Of the 85 identified Cannabinoids in the plant, only one is independently psychoactive. The other 84 appear to be non-psychoactive and are still powerful therapeutics. Many Cannabinoids have been bred to low expression levels over the years but are excellent small molecule therapeutic drug candidates for cancer and inflammatory diseases. The genome sequence can be utilized to design breeding strategies to resurrect these nearly extinct pathways.
“In addition, Cannabinoids have also been shown to have a very favorable therapeutic index making them a unique class of anti-cancer compounds because the lethal dose is much higher than the effective dose. Furthermore, Cannabinoids are less addictive analgesics than opiates, and target different pain pathways in the body.”