There are so many exciting things going on in cannabis research these days. Phylogenticists, who study the evolutionary relationships among biological entities; often species, individuals or genes, are categorizing different strains of cannabis. The goal is to identify unique strains via their DNA to help consumers find their favorite strains using a much more reliable method than just its street name.
Welcome to the Phylos Galaxy. It contains the world’s largest database of cannabis DNA. Consumers can access the genetic identity of thousands of varieties of cannabis from over 80 countries. Anyone can submit a strain to the Galaxy via the Phylos Genotype which is a DNA sequencing test that updates in real time and shares your strain with the rest of the world.
What is the Phylos Genotype test and why is it important?
1. It is a digital genetic report that gives you a comprehensive profile of your strain; closest relatives, clonal relationships, uniqueness score, population origin, and variation and distant cultivar. The definition of cultivar is a group of plants selected for their desirable characteristics that are maintained during propagation.
2. As part of the test, your cannabis strain will receive a time-stamped certificate of authenticity which protects your intellectual property, if that is important to you.
3. This adds credibility and expertise for growers and breeders looking to differentiate and legitimize their brand in an exploding marketplace. Developing rare or unique strains will give them a marketing and branding advantage over other growers and breeders.
Here’s How It Works:
Genotype test kits contain all the instructions you will need to collect your sample; .5 gram stem sample (approx 3 inches of thin stem) and a pre-paid envelope. Consumers will typically get their results 4-6 weeks after the sample is received.
They use Next Generation Sequencing technology to read the genome of your sample. It is analyzed and compared to every other sample in the database from landraces (indigenous) to modern day strains.
The Phylos Galaxy database resulted from a two-year collaboration with Rob Desalle, curator and phylogeneticist at the American Museum of Natural History known as The Cannabis Evolution Project. Thousands of ancient and modern cannabis samples from all over the world were collected and analyzed. They made up the foundation of Galaxy that exists today.
The Phylos Galaxy is a 3D visualization of the genetics data. Each node or star represents a single cannabis plant. The similarities are reflected in the distances between nodes. The lines illustrate the relationships between plants. The closer they are, the more similar they are. They are color coded to represent their genetic differences.
The DNA of over a thousand cannabis plants was sequenced and compared. The relationships were mapped into a 3D visual using Principal Components Analysis. This is a well-known technique used in genetics. If you are interesting in getting into the nitty gritty of this analysis, click this link. This approach was combined with other statistical genetics methods showing the “heredity lines” in closely related samples. The end result of all this is an interactive visualization which has never been done before.
Why do all this, you might ask? Consumers will gain more understanding of how cannabis evolved, its history and how human interaction played a role in its development. Phylogeneticists are also investigating where strains came from, why they are so different while understanding what makes each one unique. For the average consumer, this database allows you to know exactly what is in the Sour Diesel you just purchased at your dispensary. If for some reason, it is discontinued or they run out, you would be able to find the exact strain elsewhere. For those who have spent time and money finding the best strain for them, it is frustrating when that strain is no longer available. This should help enormously.