August 19, 2011

Company Sequences Genome Of Cannabis

Medicinal Genomics said on Wednesday that the company has sequenced the entire genome of the cannabis plant.

The $200,000 project may help lead to the development of treatments for cancer, pain and inflammatory disease, according to the company's founder Kevin McKernan.

The new findings have not been published in a peer reviewed journal yet, but Medicinal Genomics put the data up on Amazon.com's EC2 cloud computing system.

Over 131 billion bases of sequence will be made available to the scientific public sometime this fall.

The new breakthrough could help researchers take out the psychoactive effects pot smoking has on people while enhancing the medicinal aspects.

"This is the beginning of a more scientific approach to the genetics of the species," Richard Gibbs, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told Bloomberg. "This is not really about marijuana; it's about pharmacology."

Medicinal Genomics said it plans to ultimately sequence the goonies of over a dozen Cannabis species. Â

Bloomberg reported that McKernan was originally interested in pursuing the research after seeing papers published in academic journals about the tumor-shrinking effects in rats.

"One in three people are going to get cancer, and one in four are going to die with it or from it," he told Bloomberg. "So any compound, as preliminary as this may be, that's nontoxic and shows hope there, we should be all over.

"The only way I knew how to do that was to sequence the genome."


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