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Planta Med. 2010 Nov;76(16):1938-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1249978. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Genetic identification of female Cannabis sativa plants at early developmental stage.

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National Center for Natural Products Research, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA.


Sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers were used to identify female plants at an early developmental stage in four different varieties of Cannabis sativa. Using the cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) method, DNA was isolated from two-week-old plants of three drug-type varieties (Terbag W1, Terbag K2, and Terbag MX) and one fiber-type variety (Terbag Fedora A7) of C. sativa grown under controlled environmental conditions through seeds. Attempts to use MADC2 (male-associated DNA from Cannabis sativa) primers as a marker to identify the sex of Cannabis sativa plants were successful. Amplification of genomic DNA using MADC2-F and MADC2-R primers produced two distinct fragments, one with a size of approximately 450 bp for female plants and one for male plants with a size of approximately 300 bp. After harvesting the tissues for DNA extraction, plants were subjected to a flowering photoperiod (i.e., 12-h light cycle), and the appearance of flowers was compared with the DNA analysis. The results of the molecular analysis were found to be concordant with the appearance of male or female flowers. The results of this study represent a quick and reliable technique for the identification of sex in Cannabis plants using SCAR markers at a very early developmental stage.

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