What Gives Cannabis its Flavour?
News Mar 30, 2017 | Original story from The University of British Columbia
UBC scientists have scanned the genome of cannabis plants to find the genes responsible for giving various strains their lemony, skunky or earthy flavours, an important step for the budding legal cannabis industry.
“The goal is to develop well-defined and highly-reproducible cannabis varieties. This is similar to the wine industry, which depends on defined varieties such as chardonnay or merlot for high value products,” said Jörg Bohlmann, a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and faculty of forestry at UBC. “Our genomics work can inform breeders of commercial varieties which genes to pay attention to for specific flavour qualities.”
The research is part of an ongoing collaboration between Bohlmann, graduate student Judith Booth, and Jonathan Page, an adjunct professor in the botany department who founded the cannabis testing and biotechnology company Anandia Labs.
They found about 30 terpene synthase genes that contribute to diverse flavours in cannabis. This number is comparable to similar genes that play a role in grapevine flavour for the wine industry. The genes the researchers discovered play a role in producing natural products like limonene, myrcene, and pinene in the cannabis plants. These fragrant molecules are generally known in the industry as terpenes.
“The limonene compound produces a lemon-like flavour and myrcene produces the dank, earthy flavour characteristic of purple kush,” said Booth.
They also found a gene that produces the signature terpene of cannabis, beta-caryophyllene, which interacts with cannabinoid receptors in human cells along with other active ingredients in cannabis.
Bohlmann says the economic potential of a regulated cannabis industry is huge, but a current challenge is that growers are working with a crop that is not well standardized and highly variable for its key natural product profiles.
“There is a need for high-quality and consistent products made from well defined varieties.” he said.
The researchers say it will also be important to examine to what extent terpene compounds might interact with the cannabinoid compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that confer the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Genomics Researchers Showcase their Applications of Droplet Digital PCR at ASHG 2017 Annual MeetingNews
The sensitivity and reliability of Droplet Digital PCR will be showcased in over a dozen presentations at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 Annual Meeting.READ MORE
Multi-tissue, Multi-individual Data Used to Identify Mechanisms of Gene RegulationNews
Developing a mechanistic model for how healthy bodies function and how certain diseases merge may now be possible.READ MORE
BC Platforms Announces Collaborations in Multiple Sclerosis ResearchNews
Company's technology and research platforms used to better understand genetic basis of MS.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
Annual Conference on Antimicrobials and Drug Resistance
Sep 24 - Sep 25, 2018