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Israeli and Swiss Companies Team Up to Breed Better Cannabis for Patients

Cannabis plants tailored to specific ailments could be just around the corner.

A.J. Herrington

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Israeli and Swiss Companies Team Up to Breed Better Cannabis for Patients
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A Swiss cannabis company has partnered with an Israeli genome analysis firm in order to create better varieties of cannabis for patients and consumers. Gene sequencing firm NRGene, based in Ness Ziona, Israel, announced the collaboration with Pure Cannabis Research AG of Zug, Switzerland in a press release on Tuesday.

Through the partnership, Pure Cannabis Research plans to breed varieties of cannabis that are tailored to meet its customers’ needs. Researchers will focus on creating strains of cannabis that produce healthier, hardier plants that are optimized for commercial production. The new varieties will have customized cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profiles targeted for specific therapeutic uses such as pain relief and sleep support. Strains that provide unique flavor profiles for energy drinks and products that provide an alternative to tobacco will also be developed.

The non-exclusive partnership between the two companies “will facilitate more rapid development of cannabis varieties than the current industry standard,” according to the release.

Stevens Senn, the CEO of Pure Holding Group, the parent company of Pure Cannabis, said the partnership will help his company identify desirable genetic traits in cannabis and then breed new strains that maximize the expression of those traits. The new cannabis varieties will then be used in the company’s line of cannabidiol products.

“We’re at the forefront of providing safe, non-addictive, CBD-based products for tobacco alternatives, beverages, cosmetics, and other uses for the Swiss and European markets,” Senn said.

Pure Holding Group and its subsidiaries operate two facilities with a total of more than 300,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor cultivation space for high-CBD cannabis.

Senn noted that NRGene has already mapped the genomes of multiple plants, including wheat, potato, barley, oats, and strawberry—crops which all have a larger or more complex genome than humans.

“NRGene has refined the process for identifying key genetic traits across virtually any species of plants, so we are partnering with them in order to support our breeding program and develop plants with any trait that is biologically possible to best serve the international and national markets with new varieties,” Senn said.

Cannabis Genomes To Be Mapped

The research conducted by the new partnership will include mapping the genomes of several varieties of cannabis with desirable genetic traits. The data collected will then be used to develop a cannabis pangenome, which represents the entire gene set of all varieties of a species.

“This pangenome project will create a collection of sequences that will provide unique and essential insights into the natural genetic diversity of cannabis,” according to NRGene.

Dr. Gil Ronen, the CEO of NRGene, said that the collaboration with Pure Cannabis Research will allow for a better understanding of the potential benefits and uses of all forms of cannabis.

“The recognition of the importance of cannabis in specific and hemp in general is growing globally, whether for a plethora of medical problem or as a valuable, renewable resource with many eco-friendly uses,” Dr. Ronen said. “Cannabis is being increasingly recognized as the most viable solution for many health problems, and we’re gratified that we can contribute to people’s well-being.”

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