Research published Friday in the journal Science Advances concludes that cannabis was first cultivated by humans a few years ago. 12,000 years in China.
The study was based on the analysis of the genomes of plants from all over the world and shows that the genomic history of the domestication of the cannabis it had not been sufficiently studied compared to other species, largely due to legal restrictions.
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The researchers collected 110 complete genomes They cover the entire spectrum of cannabis, from wild plants to modern hybrids used for hemp and drugs, through cultivars, that is, artificially bred plant species.
The study claims to have determined “the time and origin of domestication, patterns of divergence after domestication and current genetic diversity.”
“Our genomic dating suggests that the first domesticated ancestors of hemp and drug types diverged from basal cannabis” about 12,000 years ago, “indicating that the species had already been domesticated in the early 1900s. Neolithic“, says the study.
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“Contrary to a widely accepted opinion, which associates cannabis with a center of domestication of crops in Central Asia, our results are consistent with a single origin of domestication of the ‘cannabis sativa’ in East Asia, which agrees with the earliest archaeological evidence, “the authors asserted.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for tissues, as well as for its medicinal and psychotropic properties. The evolution of the cannabis genome suggests that the plant was cultivated for multiple purposes for several millennia, according to the same study.
Today’s hemp and drug varieties are believed to have their origin in selective breeding started about 4,000 years ago, optimized for the production of fiber or cannabinoids. The selection resulted in tall, branchless hemp plants with more fiber in the main stem and short, well-branched marijuana plants with more flowers, maximizing resin production.
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The study was led by Luca Fumagalli, from the University of Lausanne, and included scientists from Great Britain, China, India, Pakistan, Qatar and Switzerland.