Portland, OR – A pioneering biotechnology startup has established an on-line interactive guide that maps the genetic evolution of the cannabis genome, allowing for unique forms of grass that are already in the public domain a type of protection from patenting by big biotech companies like Monsanto.
After two years of sequencing the plant’s DNA, gathering samples and developing the applications to allow for a 3D visualization of the data that is gathered, the firm was prepared to unveil their long-awaited job.
“Sample group was a tremendous part of this procedure,” Carolyn White, Sales and Marketing Manager at Phylos Bioscience told the Willamette Weekly. “One side was a cooperation with growers, dispensaries and laboratories to gather modern samples, and the other a procedure for hunting down early landrace breeds from around the world.”
The Portland business, fittingly on 4/20, went online with its interactive guide, which the firm calls Galaxy.
Based on a report in The New York Times:
The resultant visualization will offer anyone the ability to readily go through a three dimensional projection of the genetic advice which is being legalized for recreational and medical use in states through the state… in cyberspace;
Phylos has created a vibrant 3D map that represents the statistical associations between distinct strains of the plant. The firm expects that having genetic information readily accessible will help bring order to a business that started and is currently making a transition that is commercial.
Over time, the scientists consider, this kind of visual map can be applied to other kinds of plants, or even to creatures.
While there are several other firms offering various services in cataloging and identification, none offer real DNA sequencing, which provides an unparalleled degree of truth.
Based on a report in the Willamette Weekly:
With the Galaxy, users can see the hereditary sequence of each plant by subsequent lines that link or offspring and forms. While shade groups the plants into “tribes” based on their area similar plants can be found close to each other.
“We’ve gathered samples from all around the globe, and cataloged the genetic information encoded within their DNA,” Dr. Holmes, Phylos’s chief science officer and molecular and evolutionary biologist, in addition to being a cofounder of Phylos Bioscience, told the NY Times, linking the DNA sequencing to an actual bar code in terms of identification and evolutionary association relative to other samples.
The data could help protect the intellectual property rights of growers from big business interests that are possible, like Monsanto, from obtaining a patent foothold in the sector that is growing.
Because of the social media attention given to the area, Monsanto has tried to refute any interest in creating GMO cannabis, posting on their site the firms reported interest in GMO grass is nothing more than “an Internet gossip.”
Also, on April 25, Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord told the Willamette Week the firm is not going to be becoming involved in the pot business.
“Monsanto hasn’t, isn’t and has no strategies for working on cultivating cannabis,” Lord told WW.
Contrary to the public statements by Lord, White says he anticipates firms like Monsanto will try to patent cannabis.
“We believe Big Pharma and Big Ag will be the primary audience after patents, and it’ll probably need writing new DNA in to the plant,” White told WW. “None of the people at Phylos actually view patenting as a feasible instrument for the typical breeder.”
Phylos looks to help out with pushing more data into the public domain as a hedge against patenting by substantial bio-agribusiness as advice in the public domain can’t be patented after one
“You can’t patent anything that’s been in the public domain more than a year,” White told WW. “We set out to bring more knowledge and transparency to the sector and that’s still what we’re doing.”
The next step for the firm that is progressive is the start of a commercial sequencing merchandise to allow for anyone to send to Phylos in a sample and have it sequenced. The sample would be put with the customer being given a thorough evaluation of the forms sequenced data, into the Galaxy.