Dash’s partnership with Medicinal Genomics (MGC) continues to reap rewards by breaking DNA genome sequencing records set by the Human Genome Project in 2001.
Dash Force News caught up with Kevin McKernan, the Chief Science Officer of MGC, about their technical developments of mapping the cannabis genome. Kevin started off by highlighting how the cannabis genome is much harder to map than the Human Genome, which was the goal of the Human Genome Project in 2001. Kevin went on to discuss how Medicinal Genomics’ genome mapping has beat out the Human Genome Project that got a huge celebration and got worldwide attention at the time; he playfully hopes for similar mainstream recognition.
“In 2001, the human genome project celebrated the completion of the human genome at the white house when they reached an N50 of 500,000 bases. This meant that half the bases in the genome were assembled into pieces 500,000 bases or bigger. The cannabis genome is now at 640,000 N50 and we eagerly await a white house invitation for a similar party!”
Kevin also added that “the human genome project spent another 5-10 years closing the many gaps in the genome but we believe this gap closure phase for cannabis will take less than a year with the scientific tools we have today and the creative crypto-financing breakthroughs seen in DASH.” Overall, him and his team believe that their research funded by Dash and being stored on the Dash network has the potential to truly revolutionize the cannabis industry by better mapping and understanding the cannabis genome.
Technicalities of mapping the cannabis genome poises it for success
Kevin discussed the technicalities involved in reconstructing the DNA genome of cannabis to highlight the revolutionary importance of their research, some of which is explained in this article. Kevin first explained how much harder it is to sequence the cannabis genome since human polymorphism rate is 1 in 1000, while cannabis polymorphism rate is 1 in 100. This means that “every 100 letters in the cannabis genome will have a difference when you look at DNA randomly sampled from both the mother and father genome”, Kevin explain. The letters, also known as bases, are the building blocks of DNA and is what gives everything its traits. He gave a good analogy of mixing together two jigsaw puzzles and then trying to assemble both jigsaw puzzles to illustrate the difficulties of mixing the mother and father genome together and then having to reconstruct the genome. However, with their research and better technology, they are essential able to make the jigsaw pieces bigger and thus able to reconstruct a more accurate and longer genome since the computer analysis is better able to read the individual fragments and recognize the necessary patterns for proper reconstruction.
Kevin also reference how important it is to have a longer DNA sequence in order to gain more information and accuracy. Kevin made another good analogy of how if letters are out of place in sentences or words then it can mean something completely different.
“Contiguity is very important. Imagine trying to read a book where the chapters are all shuffled. You can make a lot false narratives. Imagine if someone shuffled the blockchain or just take this sentence…
- The IRS
Three very different meanings, at least ‘the’ [in] everyone but the IRS. Expand this to paragraphs and chapters and it’s a big deal. We had the genome contiguous enough to make 2-3000 letter words but now have it in full 640,000 letter chapters.”
The precise accuracy of the genome is important since they want to make each cannabis strain’s genome as unique as possible so there is little confusion between various strains. This accuracy will help defend the Jamaican Lion strain, their initial experiment, from unjustly issued patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
“The short story is that it is a Type II plant that has published history back to 2007 while the USPTO issued a patent filed in 2013 on the same strain. USPTO didn’t see this or know how to classify it as DNA sequencing wasn’t performed until DASH. Now the sequence of this 2007 strain is about to be live and will give the USPTO and others a hint that the patent they issued may not be as novel as they thought. Anyone else that has a genome in 2017 that matches our sequence can claim they are more like this 2007 strain which predates their patent. Patent holder (Biotech LLC) has no sequencing data to support their novelty claim.”
This will significantly improve protections for entrepreneurs by enabling small breeders and growers to prove that they produced the specific strain before the patent was issued. They hope this will qualify these entrepreneurs for prior use exemptions. Ideally, they would like their mapping of the cannabis genome and storing it on Dash to cause the USPTO to reevaluate their patent issuance methods for cannabis.
Dash expands adoption via entrepreneurial innovation
The Dash treasury is a mechanism tasked with funding various projects that the Dash community believes will advance the overall network. Through this, any entrepreneur is able to submit a proposal to the network to have Masternodes vote on whether or not to fund the project. Medicinal Genomics demonstrates that Dash is not only directly able to fund entrepreneurs, but also fund businesses that are helping other entrepreneurs by leveraging the Dash network. This trend will only increase with the introduction of Dash Ventures, which aims to fund projects through an entity separate from the DAO treasury to fund more projects and receive greater returns on behalf of the network for the investment risks taken.
These features expand the market reach and usage of Dash by not only displaying the innovative potential of Dash, but by also creating useful, non-currency related services that entrepreneurs will want to utilize. This will expose Dash to new consumers that want to use Dash’s superior network, and thus, it will significantly expand Dash adoption.