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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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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