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Arbor Biosciences, Medicinal Genomics Partner on Cannabis Genotyping

NEW YORK – Arbor Biosciences said today that is has partnered with cannabis genomics firm Medicinal Genomics to develop a new genotyping panel for cannabis and offer it for service work.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Arbor, a subsidiary of Chiral Technologies,  and Beverly, Massachusetts-based MGC plan to perform genetic testing and to create a cannabis genome knowledge bank to generate a panel for analyzing unique genetic signatures in cannabis strains. 

Incorporating biomarkers recently identified by MGC, Arbor has designed a hybridization-based myBaits capture panel. 

MGC will use the panel as part of its StrainSEEK identification and registration service. For this, the firm sequences more than 3.3 Mb of DNA, including 30 cannabinoid and terpene synthase genes, as well as several genes for seed production and sex determination. The assay also includes 20,000 SNPs that users can apply to create high-density SNP maps for marker-assisted breeding. 

Arbor and MGC will co-brand the jointly developed panel under the myBaits product portfolio and both firms will provide sequencing services to their clients for specific  applications.  

MGC will support cannabis breeders globally as it works to develop and register new strains of cannabis for recreational and medicinal markets, while Arbor will support developers of hemp for a variety of products, including textiles, foods, and building materials.

In a statement, MGC CSO Kevin McKernan highlighted that Arbor's sequencing panel has been updated to include terpene synthase genes and edestin genes responsible for seed protein expression. He elaborated that "this means 20,000 genome-wide SNPs with baits in over 1,000 genes can now be readily captured, sequenced, and compared to hundreds of samples" in MGC's public cannabis strain database. 

"Whether clients prefer to process samples in their own lab or use our myReads services, we are proud to offer this critical tool to the cannabis research community," Arbor Director of Genomics Alison Devault said in a statement.