April 21, 2020  |  

Closing the Yield Gap for Cannabis: A Meta-Analysis of Factors Determining Cannabis Yield.

Until recently, the commercial production of Cannabis sativa was restricted to varieties that yielded high-quality fiber while producing low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the last few years, a number of jurisdictions have legalized the production of medical and/or recreational cannabis with higher levels of THC, and other jurisdictions seem poised to follow suit. Consequently, demand for industrial-scale production of high yield cannabis with consistent cannabinoid profiles is expected to increase. In this paper we highlight that currently, projected annual production of cannabis is based largely on facility size, not yield per square meter. This meta-analysis of cannabis yields reported in scientific literature aimed to identify the main factors contributing to cannabis yield per plant, per square meter, and per W of lighting electricity. In line with previous research we found that variety, plant density, light intensity and fertilization influence cannabis yield and cannabinoid content; we also identified pot size, light type and duration of the flowering period as predictors of yield and THC accumulation. We provide insight into the critical role of light intensity, quality, and photoperiod in determining cannabis yields, with particular focus on the potential for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to improve growth and reduce energy requirements. We propose that the vast amount of genomics data currently available for cannabis can be used to better understand the effect of genotype on yield. Finally, we describe diversification that is likely to emerge in cannabis growing systems and examine the potential role of plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for growth promotion, regulation of cannabinoid biosynthesis, and biocontrol.

September 22, 2019  |  

Cryptocurrencies and Zero Mode Wave guides: An unclouded path to a more contiguous Cannabis sativa L. genome assembly

We describe the use ofa Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) to crypto- fund the single molecule sequencing and publication ofa Type ll Cannabis plant. This resulted in the construction of the most contiguous Cannabis genome assembly to date. The combined use of the Dash cryptocurrency, DAOs, and Pacific Biosciences sequencing delivered a 1.03 Gb genome with a N50 of 665Kb in 77 days from funding to public upload. This represents a 230 fold improvement in the contiguity of the first cannabis assemblies in 2011 and a 4 fold improvement over all cannabis assemblies to date. 34Gb ofadditional sequencing pushed the assembly to a N50 of 3.8Mb. Hi-C data from Phase Genomics further scaffolded the assembly to 35 contigs at an N50 of 74Mb but requires additional curation. The genome is partially phased and larger than previously reported (2N : 1.33Gb). The CBCA, THCA and CBDA synthase gene clusters have been phased onto respective contigs demonstrating tandem repeat expansions.

July 7, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing of THCA synthase reveals copy number variation in modern drug-type Cannabis sativa L.

Cannabinoid expression is an important genetically determined feature of cannabis that presents clinical and legal implications for patients seeking cannabinoid specific therapies like Cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoid, terpenoid, and flavonoid marker assisted selection can accelerate breeding efforts by offering genetic tools to select for desired traits at an early stage in growth. To this end, multiple models for chemotype inheritance have been described suggesting a complex picture for chemical phenotype determination. Here we explore the potential role of copy number variation of THCA Synthase using phased single molecule sequencing and demonstrate that copy number and sequence variation of this gene is common and suggests a more nuanced view of chemotype prediction.

July 7, 2019  |  

Terpene synthases from Cannabis sativa.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) plants produce and accumulate a terpene-rich resin in glandular trichomes, which are abundant on the surface of the female inflorescence. Bouquets of different monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are important components of cannabis resin as they define some of the unique organoleptic properties and may also influence medicinal qualities of different cannabis strains and varieties. Transcriptome analysis of trichomes of the cannabis hemp variety ‘Finola’ revealed sequences of all stages of terpene biosynthesis. Nine cannabis terpene synthases (CsTPS) were identified in subfamilies TPS-a and TPS-b. Functional characterization identified mono- and sesqui-TPS, whose products collectively comprise most of the terpenes of ‘Finola’ resin, including major compounds such as ß-myrcene, (E)-ß-ocimene, (-)-limonene, (+)-a-pinene, ß-caryophyllene, and a-humulene. Transcripts associated with terpene biosynthesis are highly expressed in trichomes compared to non-resin producing tissues. Knowledge of the CsTPS gene family may offer opportunities for selection and improvement of terpene profiles of interest in different cannabis strains and varieties.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genetic and genomic tools for Cannabis sativa

The Cannabis industry is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Given the changing legal status of the plant, and the rapidly advancing research, updated information on the advancement of Cannabis genomics is needed. This versatile plant is used as medicine and for food, fiber, and bioremediation. Insights from modern, high-throughput genomic technology are revolutionizing our understanding of the plant and are providing new tools to further improve our knowledge and utilization of this unique species. This review quantifies and evaluates the currently available genomic resources for Cannabis research, including six whole-genome assemblies, two transcriptomes, and 393 other substantial genomic resources, as well as other smaller publicly available genetic and genomic resources. The open-source approaches followed by many leading scientists in the field promote collaboration and facilitate these rapid advances.

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