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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: First Look at Marijuana's Genetic Code
19 October 2011 8:01 pm
Attendees at Burning Man, the famously free-wheeling yearly Nevada art gathering, don't usually take note of new genomic sequences, but they may want to check out a paper published today in Genome Biology. In it, scientists report that they've sequenced most of the genetic code of the fibrous plant species Cannabis sativa. The team's specimen of choice: a marijuana cultivar called Purple Kush. The genome may give researchers new insight into what makes the pot plant so, ahem, popular at folk festivals. Comparing Purple Kush with another popular form of the same plant—the hemp-fiber producing Finola varietal—the group found that one gene critical for churning out the precursors to the chemical that gives pot its kick, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, had been turned off. Purple Kush plants, in turn, produced little to no cannabidiolic acid, a similar compound found in hemp plants, possibly because these molecules suck up the building blocks needed for THC. Far-out news, even for those who don't inhale.
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