Large-scale whole-genome resequencing unravels the domestication history of Cannabis sativa

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

**ABSTRACT:** *Cannabis sativa* has long been an important source of fiber extracted from hemp and both medicinal and recreational drugs based on cannabinoid compounds. Here, we investigated its poorly known domestication history using whole-genome resequencing of 110 accessions from worldwide origins. We show that *C. sativa* was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China. We identified candidate genes associated with traits differentiating hemp and drug cultivars, including branching pattern and cellulose/lignin biosynthesis. We also found evidence for loss of function of genes involved in the synthesis of the two major biochemically competing cannabinoids during selection for increased fiber production or psychoactive properties. Our results provide a unique global view of the domestication of *C. sativa* and offer valuable genomic resources for ongoing functional and molecular breeding research.


This is fascinating. If I’m reading it right, C. sativa was domesticated 12,000 years ago, then diverged into hemp (fiber) or marijuana (drug) use around 4,000 B.P. from intensive selection and crossbreeding. *(edited to remove off-topic editorializing)*


Once a major source for textiles, food, and oilseed as hemp, its exploitation to that end declined in the 20th century Thanks to oil companies and racism…


Thdr; too high didn’t read