Scientists Find The Gene That Produces THC

In one of the few scientific developments likely to interest both the Governor of North Dakota and Method Man, scientists at the University of Minnesota have identified the genes in cannabis that allow the plant to produce THC.

Finding the genes opens the path to either create drug-free hemp plants for industrial purposes, or to develop plants with much higher concentrations of the psychotropic chemical.

Publishing in the Journal of Experimental Botany, the researchers note that they specifically targeted the genes responsible for generating the drug-filled hairs highlighted in many a High Times photo spread. By impairing or encouraging the growth of those hairs, scientists could gain precise control over the level of THC in the crop.

This development has important consequences for both the medicinal and industrial use of hemp.

On the industrial side, states like North Dakota have been looking to change state law to allow them to raise hemp as a cash crop, for oil and rope production. The ability to create hemp that doesn’t contain any banned substances would allow Dakotans to sow the crop without any changes in the law.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, precise control of the doses of THC found in pot could greatly enhance the medicinal marijuana industry. Currently, dosage is controlled through haphazard breeding and selection, not precise measurements as with most other medications.

It should also be noted that THC is not the only psychoactive
compound found in marijuana, so more research is needed before the
University of Minnesota scientists can completely control the potency
of their crops.

Finally, how this new discovery will affect the pizza delivery business remains to be seen.

[via EurekAlert]

– Article from Popular Science.

Comments

26 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    I want to smoke mutant weed 😀

  2. Anonymous on

    I want to smoke mutant weed 😀

  3. Anonymous on

    I agree with those who say messing with the genetics and creating new strains that way is a bad idea. There should be cost-benefit analysis on this… meaning, what is really to be gained by eliminating what is already a minute amount of THC from hemp? It’s to appease a set of laws that should be eliminated.

    Adding THC to plants artificially via DNA changes doesn’t sound good either. Most people I’ve spoken with don’t like the really top-strength marijuana that is already out and about. They like to dial the potency back for smoking more regularly with. There are already concentrated forms of trichomes such as hash and oil for people who need high potency material.

    It’s not worth risking the plant over. People can already determine the potency of the THC in plants. Harborside Health Center in California tests the potency of each shipment. The potency measurements apparently work well enough for medical patients, so there’s no need to attempt dialing-in THC to exact amounts with DNA-style manipulations and such.

  4. Anonymous on

    Hells yeah we do understand this plant! it’s the Monsanto bitches that don’t understand nature!!
    i just hope they study it right before messing with it.

  5. one12alpha on

    Indeed, you can get high off the cannamato!
    You can do anything you can do the the boring tomato your used to! put it in your salad, on a burger, in a sauce…Process it into a fantastic katsup, or bar-b-q sauce that’s sure to leave you wanting more!

  6. Anonymous on

    Correction, I ment divine when I wrote devine.
    (Chriss bennett was right p’haps, spelling sometimes does matter.)

  7. Anonymous on

    And what if Monsanto would eventually own all patents concerning all life forms known to earth and beyond?

    Already now, if you are a farmer who’s heirloom products became pollinated by Monsanto’s GM manipulated pollen they will sue you for property theft!

    Monsanto equals prospective God!

    keep up the good work guys. :(

  8. Anonymous on

    Let’s do that. You should take that to the University, brother, get in there! The gov should just sell the crop from one of their wasteful busts and drop a cannabis research grant on UVic, UBC or VIU.
    My suggestion – wicked strong sativa, even more blueberry taste. haha

    ‘Then you better start swimmin or you’ll sink like a stone’

  9. Anonymous on

    Scientists don’t understand this plant, they shouldn’t start messing with it.

    Just let us grow, grown your own, study all you want.

    Don’t be scared of the THC, there’s lots of natural strains out there with low levels; find one of those, don’t try to create it artificially.

    ‘Hard work good and hard work fine, but first take care of head’

  10. Anonymous on

    horses….cats….dogs….farm animals…..your grass….mice,bugs….trees that have fruit….all of them have been breed in a way to suit people or exploit us some way….

    deal with it nothing on earth would be how it is right now with out us here….genetics is just the next step

    this is really good and really bad….what if the goverment decides to make a thc free strain and pollenate all over the place for a few years?….that would screw over so many outdoor breaders and make the wild weed even shittier for years to come

  11. Anonymous on

    Dear fellow devine creature, that’s just so true.
    You just figured one doesn’t have to actually believe in god, understanding god is the thing that matters.
    I,d like to define God rather rationally and well like this:INTERACTING MATTER.
    Bit the same as the innerpart of an X-box but then on a galactic scale.

    Hence the reason why I started this off calling you Dear fellow devine creature. :)

  12. Anonymous on

    the person is talking about the trichrome im sure.

    You I think are misunderstanding the hair the writer is talking about.

    Perhaps like most writers know nothing about what they are writing about,

  13. Anonymous on

    No one mentioned anything about more or less playing God, re read former script please.
    But the former has past the test of time successfully so far, the latter is about to test shark invested waters.
    No need to be scientist só far allthough on an eco /paleo/bio aproach you´ll be wise to listen to your senses.

  14. Anonymous on

    No one mentioned anything about more or less playing God, re read former script please.
    But the former has past the test of time successfully so far, the latter is about to test shark invested waters.
    No need to be scientist so far allthough while on an eco /paleo/bio aproach you´ll be wise to listen to your senses.

  15. Anonymous on

    Quote wikipedia: Evil, in many cultures, is a broad term used to describe what are seen as subjectively harmful deeds that are labeled as such to steer moral support. Evil is usually contrasted with good, which describes acts that are subjectively beneficial to the observer. In some religions, evil is an active force, often personified as an entity such as Satan or Ahriman. Satan and Ahriman are considered bad by these religions, as well.

  16. Bernard Boulay on

    Finding the gene that produces THC is in itself as great an accomplishment as was the discovery of THC by Mechoulam years ago.Both discoveries have opened novel insights into the understanding of the so unique Cannabis plant.The cannabis plant is unique in the plant kingdom and Earth might well be the only place in the entire Milky Way galaxy
    if not the entire universe where it is found, making it globally a very rare spice indeed.Marco Polo would be thrilled.We’ll leave this kind of speculation to the exobiologists if you don’t mind.
    A famous biochemist said in the 70’s that the knowledge of biochemistry was in its prime infancy and compared it to cavemen just having discovered fire.
    While it is tempting in this age of global biotechnology
    for molecular biologists to start tampering with biochemical pathways leading to synthesis of THC molecule and create superplants drenching in THC we should all ask ourselves if it is really desirable.
    Already strains are available that were created with conventional breeding techniques and the painstaking work of devoted breeders and those strains grown under optimal conditions are so fully loaded with trichomes and resin that they take on a frosty appearance or “wet look”.
    Such plants are already THC saturated and to go beyond that would be just too much.The question is When is enough enough ?
    Mr.J Craig Venter,the guru of DNA sequencing, if youre listening why dont you add Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica on the lists of organisms whose genome need to be sequenced in priority.Your efforts could open a brand new avenue to breeders interested in modulating the 400 or so chemicals present in the plant or interested in creating plants with varying appearances,flavors and aromas.
    Molecular biology provide tools for systematically categorizing and fingerprinting all known cannabis strains and answer such questions as what makes a haze a haze ?
    Exploring terpenes biosynthesis and genes that control it
    elucidating CBN and CBD biochemical pathways, exploring the genetics control of trichomes development and countless others avenues of investigation that could help the conventional breeders in breeding unsurpassed beauties.
    Lets never forget that cannabis is a natural plant, that it is a natural medicine and people prefer it this way and that molecular biology is there to permit us to characterize this “naturality” and gain a deeper understanding just for the sake of gaining a deeper understanding and the knowledge not to be used by profit oriented pharmaceuticals for creating a useless boring THC pill.
    A good start for everybody would be to install a few HPLC
    machines in med dispensaries throughout the Us and Canada so as to provide some kind of quality control on the buds med patients consume.The rest will follow naturally….

  17. Less is more on

    I agree with you. Science in the name of morality, does not make good science. Just leave the weed alone. Allow people to grow it in their yards. I am sure these scientists, and our tax dollars could be put to better use.

  18. Anonymous on

    I just want to know can I get high off the Cannamato?
    Do I smoke it or do I put it in my salad? lol

  19. Anonymous on

    — and the average legalizer wants to voluntarily pay a tax to the government in exchange for hassle free pot ? That will make it legit, right ?? and here the feds will easily bring you a low thc buzz product and tax your ass for it,, forever and forever, amen-

    and in the future, if you are caught with any” off agenda” aka blackmarket pot with pirate level high THC in it- that would be considered “hard drugs”and then away you go, One for cheating the taxman, two for being addicted to THC..s

    Narc Emery and his ” wave your dink at the camera” activists ruined pot. forced it into the tax mans cage and took fun natural pot away from a holy private activity and made it the fooball of the do nothing activist circus clowns.

  20. Anonymous on

    I don’t see the problem. If God does see a problem, He’ll take care of it. It’s not as though he stamped the plants genes with an “all rights reserved” logo.

  21. one12alpha on

    maybe we could use this new development to do some meddling with our politicians’ credibility?

    GM some carrots, peas, corn, tobacco, coffee, cows, pigs, chickens, wheat, and others to all contain THC! Lets see them try and out law all the agriculture. LOL!

    hmmmm all these foods with THC? As if there wasn’t an eating problem in America already!

  22. one12alpha on

    While I don’t fully support the direct genetic modification of agriculture, I’m not fully against it either.

    What scientists are failing to realize is that the DNA of every living thing isn’t as simple as adding or subtracting what you wish to change. The gene that regulates the production of THC is part of a longer chain of genes. When it comes to protein synthesis that same gene could be used, in part or in whole, to moderate other things within the plant as well. Adding or removing to gain one effect could ultimately effect many other aspects of the plant as well…suppose you manage to remove the gene that makes THC, now when the plant synthesizes its proteins its missing an instruction. Its plausible that the plant could go on to synthesize something MUCH more harmful…smoke some risen any one? How about some strychnine? And they call simple breading haphazard?

    However I do support further study into the idea. But it would be best done in close observation, and away from any possibility of the genetic material to reach the natural environment. There is no knowing what the modified genetic material would naturally modify during the reproductive cycle.

    I think the better approach to removing THC would be the same “Haphazard” breading we use to make it more prominent. Keep breading your industrial hemp selecting the plants with the least amount of THC until, after many generations, its no longer present. Let semi-natural selection do the work. Or better yet, leave it alone and change something much easier….the law!

  23. VbSparky on

    either the researchers don’t have a clue or Stuart Fox wrote it all wrong .. THC is not in the hair of the cannabis plant.
    “the researchers note that they specifically targeted the genes responsible for generating the drug-filled hairs” LOL

    Hint researcher .. you found the gene to the female
    reproduction part of the plant. Try looking at the trichrome
    next time.

    Thanks again for your missiformation it serves the public
    well ..

    PS . i want my tax funded dollars refunded …

  24. Anonymous on

    And so their goal is like with all pharmaceuticals: producing it syntheticly, patenting it and making huge profits while offering a prescription drug that contains plenty of unwanted side effects since all natural stabilizing compounds are beeing eleminated.

    Please read the former post and try and understand the meaning of COEXISTING life forms.

    Nature already has the patent!!!!!!! an actual benevolent one!

  25. Anonymous on

    So they are playing god again.

    This is BIG BULLSH*T.

    There is nothing wrong with the “haphazard” breeding and selecting as has been done since times immemorial.

    But there definatly is something wrong with Gene Manipilation since it breaks the cycle of COEXISTING of life forms ever since life evolved on earth.

    Not everything we discover about cannabis is that positive unfortunatly.

    Nothing wrong with playing God though, provided you do’t only use Gods knowledge but also stay in touch with Gods WISDOM!!!

    Am I the only one understanding how ridiculous this is?
    ; Genetically Altering natural life forms in order to make it suit human made (evil) laws??????????????????????????? scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!