NRGene and RCK to Develop DNA Tests for Medical Cannabis

Legalization of cannabis for diverse medical conditions requires top quality control of plant material production. One of the most important quality measurements is the cannabis strain authentication. Cannabis strains differ significantly in the profile of active ingredients, mostly cannabinoids and terpenes, a fact that could have significant impact on the effectiveness of therapy.

RCK, licensed for cannabis cultivation, genetic research, and breeding in Israel, has joined forces with NRGene, the world leader in genome analysis, to develop a comprehensive set of DNA markers representing the broad diversity within commercial medicinal cannabis. The DNA markers will be used commercially for strain identification of cannabis plants grown for medical use. Each medical cannabis grower could obtain professional authentication of the strains grown. \The same DNA marker set will also be used by RCK and NRGene for the discovery of key traits in cannabis and be utilized for more efficient breeding.

“Today, no reliable method exists to distinguish among cannabis strains, so the quality and purity of the produced material is uncertain,” said Dr. Noam Chehanovsky, RCK’s CTO. “As the plant is grown for medical treatment, and different strains are used to treat different medical conditions, it is crucial we ensure the strain's identity, quality and efficacy of every batch of the medical cannabis produced.”

The global use of medical cannabis is expanding quickly, as it is officially authorized for use to treat more and more medical conditions in an ever-increasing number of countries.

Legal cannabis is a young industry, and the volume of global medical cannabis grown today is hundreds fold higher than just four years ago, and with a CAGR of more than 21% expected between 2017 and 2024, according to a recent report from Ameri Research Inc.

“Our computational tools are being used for research and development as well as quality control of plant material,” says Dr. Gil Ronen, CEO of NRGene. “In case of cannabis, where the plant material is used to treat diverse medical conditions, the accuracy achieved by our analysis is more important than ever. We are proud we can meet the highest standards the medical world requires.”



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