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Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Jun 2;159(2-3):132-40. Epub 2005 Sep 6.

DNA polymorphisms in the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) synthase gene in "drug-type" and "fiber-type" Cannabis sativa L.

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  • 1JYUGEI Institute (The Arboricultural Research Institute), University Forests, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 457 Kano, Minami-izu, Shizuoka 451-0304, Japan. kojoma@uf.a.u-tokyo.ac.jp


The cannabinoid content of 13 different strains of cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) was analyzed. Six strains fell into the "drug-type" class, with high Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) content, and seven strains into the "fiber-type" class, with low THCA using HPLC analysis. Genomic DNA sequence polymorphisms in the THCA synthase gene from each strain were studied. A single PCR fragment of the THCA synthase gene was detected from six strains of "drug-type" plants. We could also detect the fragment from seven strains of "fiber-type" plants, although no or very low content of THCA were detected in these samples. These were 1638 bp from all 13 strains and no intron among the sequences obtained. There were two variants of the THCA synthase gene in the "drug-type" and "fiber-type" cannabis plants, respectively. Thirty-seven major substitutions were detected in the alignment of the deduced amino acid sequences from these variants. Furthermore, we identified a specific PCR marker for the THCA synthase gene for the "drug-type" strains. This PCR marker was not detected in the "fiber-type" strains.

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