The Minister for Agriculture, Mary-Anne Thomas has congratulated scientists at Agriculture Victoria who have paved the way for faster precision breeding of medical cannabis.
"Research into medicinal cannabis is a great example of how Victoria’s science and health sectors are working hand-in-hand for the benefit of our community, particularly those people who are suffering from chronic health conditions.”
Advanced DNA analysis has allowed Victorian scientists to unlock the genetic code of medicinal cannabis, creating the world’s most complete genomic reference.
Laboratories fitted with technology that can precisely measure and quantify cannabinoids, are being used by Victorian scientists to quickly and accurately identify the cannabis varieties with the best medicinal properties.
In 2016, Victoria became the first state to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis.
Scientists at Agriculture Victoria used their expertise in genomic DNA testing to create new tools which made extracting genetic information from strains of medicinal cannabis from across the world possible.
This information was then able to be put into a database of DNA markers with traits such as growth rate, bud size and disease resistance, to quickly and cost-effectively test plants to meet compliance and regulatory requirements.
In 2018-19, Agriculture Victoria scientists sequenced 50 trillion bases of DNA. Advances in technology mean the same amount can today be done in just three weeks, which is equivalent to 60,000 cannabis genomes or 66,000 chickpea genomes.