Submitted to: Focus
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1999
Publication Date: November 11, 1999
Interpretive Summary: Cannabis sativa or marijuana has been used as a source of fiber, a folk medicine, an oil, and narcotics for several hundred years. This study was initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of DNA fingerprinting as a tool for drug crop research and usefulness in law enforcement activities. We found that we could identify the type of marijuana plant, the sex of the plant (only female plants are used for drug purposes), and some information about where the plant might have come from using these DNA fingerprints. This information can be of importance when trying to compare unknown samples to specific populations of illicit drug plants during law enforcement drug trafficking enforcement.
Technical Abstract: This study was initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of DNA fingerprinting as a tool for drug crop research and usefulness in law enforcement activities. AFLP DNA analysis of marijuana was shown to be a useful procedure for providing information about populations of drug plants including the sex of the plant, the breeding populations from which that plant is derived, and the possible geographic origins of the plant. The banding pattern of the AFLP DNA analysis can be modified by changing the primer sets used to generate the PCR amplified polymorphic bands, however, analysis of multiple primer sets was not necessary for definitive determination of sex linked traits and differentiation of cultivar types. Because of the simplified analysis, it would be possible to screen mass numbers of samples for information on the distribution of world populations of cannabis.