Pot Genome Sequenced

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Better living through biotechnology.

Here's a bit of good news—some researchers at a start-up biotech company have sequenced the genome of the marijuana plant. As Bloomberg reports

Kevin McKernan was leading Life Technologies Corp. (LIFE)'s Ion Torrent DNA-sequencing research when a new business opportunity caught his eye: marijuana.

A year later, McKernan, 38, has quit his job, formed a startup run from his house in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and announced today that the company had sequenced the entire genome of the cannabis plant.

The project, which cost about $200,000, may lead to the development of treatments for cancer, pain and inflammatory diseases, he said. McKernan's company,Medicinal Genomics, is making the data public using Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)'s EC2 cloud- computing system. McKernan called the work a "draft assembly," and it hasn't yet been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

McKiernan says that the new genomic information can be used to produce novel pharmaceuticals. Well, certainly that's a good idea. But since the sequence is open-access, perhaps some breeders in Mendocino might find a use for this information, too. Munchie-free weed, anyone?