Cannabis first domesticated 12,000 years ago: study

0 1

Cannabis has been used for millennia for textiles and for its medicinal and recreational properties.

Cannabis was first domesticated around 12,000 years ago in China, researchers found, after analyzing the genomes of plants from across the world.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, said the genomic history of cannabis domestication had been under-studied compared to other crop species, largely due to legal restrictions.

The researchers compiled 110 whole genomes covering the full spectrum of wild-growing feral plants, landraces, historical cultivars, and modern hybrids of plants used for hemp and drug purposes.

The study said it identified “the time and origin of domestication, post-domestication divergence patterns and present-day genetic diversity”.

“We show that cannabis sativa was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China,” it said.

Cannabis has been used for millennia for textiles and for its medicinal and recreational properties.

The evolution of the cannabis genome suggests the plant was cultivated for multipurpose use over several millennia.

The current highly-specialized hemp and drug varieties are thought to come from selective cultures initiated about 4,000 years ago, optimized for the production of fibers or cannabinoids.

The selection led to unbranched, tall hemp plants with more fiber in the main stem, and well-branched, short marijuana plants with more flowers, maximizing resin production.

Cannabis first domesticated 12,000 years ago: study
Cannabis landraces in Qinghai province, central China. Credit: Guangpeng Ren

‘New insights’

The study was led by Luca Fumagalli of the University of Lausanne and involved scientists from Britain, China, India, Pakistan, Qatar and Switzerland.

“Our genomic dating suggests that early domesticated ancestors of hemp and drug types diverged from Basal cannabis”, around 12,000 years ago, “indicating that the species had already been domesticated by early Neolithic times”, it said.

“Contrary to a widely-accepted view, which associates cannabis with a Central Asian center of crop domestication, our results are consistent with a single domestication origin of cannabis sativa in East Asia, in line with early archaeological evidence.”

It said that some of the wild plants currently found in China represent the closest descendants of the ancestral gene pool from which hemp and marijuana varieties have since derived.

“East Asia has been shown to be an important ancient hot spot of domestication for several crop species… our results thus add another line of evidence,” the study said.

The researchers said their study offered an “unprecedented” base of genomic resources for ongoing molecular breeding and functional research, both in medicine and in agriculture.

The study, they said, also “provides new insights into the domestication and global spread of a plant with divergent structural and biochemical products at a time in which there is a resurgence of interest in its use, reflecting changing social attitudes and corresponding challenges to its legal status in many countries.”


Botanists conduct first large-scale genetic study of marijuana, hemp


More information:
G. Ren el al., “Large-scale whole-genome resequencing unravels the domestication history of Cannabis sativa,” Science Advances (2021). advances.sciencemag.org/lookup … .1126/sciadv.abg2286

© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Cannabis first domesticated 12,000 years ago: study (2021, July 17)
retrieved 17 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-cannabis-domesticated-years.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Swift Telecast is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.