Colloquium on Cannabis Research: Five Facts About Cannabis Genomics

Genomics is the study of the whole collection of genetic material (DNA) from an organism and comparing it to the genome of other individuals. The study of whole genomes allows us to understand how physical characteristics (phenotypes) are related to the genome, and how changes in the genome affect these physical traits. The Cannabis plant, while used by humans for a millennia, is not well studied from a genomic standpoint. Commercial uses are now available for the use of the plant, which will be benefited by in depth genomic characterizations. These genomic studies will also assist to reliably (and legally) utilize the plant. Fortunately, the utilization of DNA whole genome sequencing capabilities can greater enhance and facilitate such research. In my talk, I will address the results from the Cannabis genomic research conducted in the Kane lab at the Ebio department. Particularly, I will be discussing five facts that we have established from our research: the genomic and phenotypic variation in Cannabis varieties, the misnaming of these cultivars by the industry, the genes involved in cannabinoid production and the phenotypic variation from the federally produced Cannabis. These projects are the first step to relate the plants' genotype to their phenotype, which is crucial for breeding purposes, to understand the origins of this controversial plant, and to unravel the relationship between the cultivars. 

Daniela Vergara is a postdoctoral researcher in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. She has been studying the biology of Cannabis plants since 2013, by exploring the genomes of multiple cultivars including hemp and medical/recreational marijuana, and also by analyzing their biochemical diversity with data provided by Steep Hill labs. Daniela is an evolutionary biologist who graduated from Indiana University's ecology, evolution and behavior program. She joined the Kane lab in 2013 to learn bioinformatics and genomics. She is the cofounder of the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative (CGRI) their group at CU, and the founder and director of the Non-profit organization Agricultural Genomics Foundation (AGF). Through AGF Vergara educates the public on the results from their Cannabis research with public talks, blog posts and by making the genomic data available..

In connection with the new University of Colorado Research and Education Addressing Cannabinoids and Health (CU REACH), the Colloquium on Cannabis Research is a monthly research seminar focused on the science, technology, business, and history of cannabis. Each session will feature a speaker giving a 45-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of discussion. This is a non-consumption event dedicated to discussing academic research about cannabis.

Friday, February 23, 2018 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Environmental Design, 201
1060 18th Street, Boulder, CO 80309

Event Type



Research & Innovation, Communication & Information


Faculty, Students, Graduate Students

College, School & Unit

Media, Communication and Information

CMCI: Media, Communication and Information
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