By Steve Elliott
A team of researchers launched the Cannabis Evolution Project last year with an important goal: mapping the genetic structure of marijuana, effectively protecting the biodiversity of the plant from corporate interests which might seek to capitalize on legal pot by patenting select strains.
Rumors have swirled for years that corporate agrochemical giant Monsanto had either plans or an active project to genetically modify marijuana in advance of nationwide legalization, reports Kyle Jaeger at attn:. This GMO marijuana would threaten the diversity of cannabis agriculture and put corporate interests in a position to make huge profits once the government gave approval.
Monsanto stoutly denies such speculation, but that hasn't stopped some scientists from taking preemptive action to prevent it from become a reality from any of the corporate behemoths hungrily eyeing the cannabis market.
Cannabis is a crop on par with corn in terms of both multifunctional properties and biological reach, Dr. Mowgli Holmes, cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer at Phylos Bioscience, told a conference in Portland, Oregon, last week. Like corn, marijuana's been around for millennia, having been domesticated by humans at least 10,000 years ago, he said.