The Genomics of Cannabis and Its Close Relatives

I. Kovalchuk, M. Pellino, P. Rigault, R. Van Velzen, J. Ebersbach, J.R. Ashnest, M. Mau, M.E. Schranz, J. Alcorn, R.B. Laprairie, J.K. McKay, C. Burbridge, D. Schneider, D. Vergara, N.C. Kane, T.F. Sharbel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Cannabis sativa L. is an important yet controversial plant with a long history of recreational, medicinal, industrial, and agricultural use, and together with its sister genus Humulus, it represents a group of plants with a myriad of academic, agricultural, pharmaceutical, industrial, and social interests. We have performed a meta-analysis of pooled published genomics data, andwe present a comprehensive literature review on the evolutionary history of Cannabis and Humulus, including medicinal and industrial applications. We demonstrate that current Cannabis genome assemblies are incomplete, with sim10% missing, 10-25% unmapped, and 45S and 5S ribosomal DNA clusters as well as centromeres/satellite sequences not represented. These assemblies are also ordered at a low resolution, and their consensus quality clouds the accurate annotation of complete, partial, and pseudogenized gene copies. Considering the importance of genomics in the development of any crop, this analysis underlines the need for a coordinated effort to quantify the genetic and biochemical diversity of this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-739
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020


  • biosynthesis pathway evolution
  • Cannabaceae
  • Cannabis sativa L.
  • genomics
  • hemp
  • hops
  • Humulus lupulus
  • proteomics
  • Y chromosome


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