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The Purple Kush Genome

A team led by investigators at the University of Toronto reports in a paper published online in advance in Genome Biology this week, a draft genome and transcriptome of the Purple Kush strain of a plant they say "occupies a unique role in human culture," Cannabis sativa. The Toronto-led team reports having sequenced genomic DNA and RNA from the marijuana strain using short-read approaches. Further, the team compared the Purple Kush transcriptome with that of the hemp cultivar Finola. Additionally, "single-nucleotide variant analysis uncovered a relatively high level of variation between cannabis types, and supported a separation of marijuana and hemp," the authors write. The University of Saskatchewan's Jonathan Page, a co-author on the paper, tells Daily Scan's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News that "biochemically and chemically, people had known that there's this bifurcation in the pathway in marijuana and hemp, but this was the first molecular evidence for what was occurring." Of the Purple Kush transcriptome, Page adds, "We think this is sort of a molecular signature of the selection by humans over time of high-THC strains. … We think this probably represents transcriptional control, where one or more transcription factors that control that pathway are turned on and then up-regulate those genes."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.