Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was awarded a $600,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study the regulation of biosynthetic pathways for cannabinoid production. The research aims to better understand the pathway processes that could allow for better selection for, or modification of, plants with particular cannabinoid content, which could increase profit and reduce risk for growers as well as advance further use of cannabinoids in medical treatments.
The researchers’ objectives are to study the gene regulatory networks that govern cannabinoid biosynthesis and to measure the effect of manipulation of the regulation on the metabolic profile of cannabis. This work could make possible a generation of new varieties, either through conventional or new plant breeding technologies, with enhanced, reduced, or abolished production of specific cannabinoid compounds, the college said in a press release.
The project is led by Bastiaan Bargmann, assistant professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and affiliated faculty member with the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. It will be performed in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia, and Canada’s York University.
The U.S. legalized industrial hemp at the federal level in 2018 via the Farm Bill,