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News: Researchers Unveil New Study on Genetically Modified Hemp Methods.

Published 12:13 AM EST, Thu June 06, 2024

In “Using Advanced Biotechnological Techniques to Improve Cannabis Cultivars,” researchers from the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Biological Sciences in Alberta, Canada, explored the benefits of gene editing in cannabis. “With recent advancements, cannabis micropropagation can substantially increase multiplication rates while preserving genetic lines.”


 


 

A recent study published in Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology by researchers from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, delves into the promising potential of genetically engineering cannabis to ensure consistency and target specific cannabinoids. The research emphasizes the limitations of traditional breeding methods due to genetic instability and environmental influences. Utilizing advanced biotechnological tools such as molecular breeding, tissue culture, and genetic engineering, researchers highlight the possibility of overcoming these limitations. Genome editing tools like CRISPR-Cas systems are seen as particularly promising for manipulating biosynthetic pathways to enhance enzyme efficiency and develop novel cannabis traits.


The study underscores the importance of CRISPR technology in tailoring cannabis strains to meet specific needs, such as adjusting CBD and THC levels. This genetic precision could prevent financial losses for growers by ensuring crops remain within legal THC limits. Furthermore, the USDA has recognized the benefits of genetically modified hemp strains, approving strains with reduced THC and CBC levels and, more recently, a strain high in CBG through CRISPR/Cas9 editing. These advancements highlight the potential for biotechnology to revolutionize cannabis cultivation, making it more efficient and economically viable.


The USDA’s commitment to promoting biobased products and stable cannabis strains is evident through initiatives like the second national “Biobased Products Day” and substantial investments in hemp research. Reports released by the USDA emphasize the necessity of high-quality, consistent, and stable hemp varieties, advocating for continued public-private partnerships to foster genetic advancements. The $10 million investment in Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center aims to enhance economic development in hemp-based materials, particularly among Native American Tribes.


This research and regulatory progress are significant for the cannabis industry, indicating a shift towards more scientifically driven cultivation methods. By integrating biotechnological advancements, the industry can achieve greater consistency and efficiency, ensuring compliance with legal standards and meeting market demands. These developments not only promise economic benefits but also enhance the medicinal and industrial applications of cannabis, positioning it as a pivotal crop for the future.


Source: High Times

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