Generation of a Comprehensive Transcriptome Atlas and Transcriptome Dynamics in Medicinal Cannabis Academic Article uri icon


  • Cannabinoids are the main medicinal compounds of interest in the plant Cannabis sativa, that are primarily synthesised in the glandular trichomes; found on female floral buds. The content, composition and yield of secondary metabolites (cannabinoids and terpenoids) is influenced by the plant's genetics and environment. Some initial gene expression experiments have been performed from strains of this plant species that contrasted in cannabinoid production, however the present knowledge about detailed trichome transcriptomics in this species is limited. An extensive transcriptome atlas was generated by RNA sequencing using root, shoot, flower and trichome tissues from a female plant strain (Cannbio-2) and was enhanced with the addition of vegetative and reproductive tissues from a male cannabis plant. Differential gene expression analysis identified genes preferentially expressed in different tissues. Detailed trichomics was performed from extractions specifically from glandular trichomes as well as female floral tissues at varying developmental stages, to identify stage-specific differentially expressed genes. Candidate genes involved in terpene and cannabinoid synthesis were identified and the majority were found to have an abundant expression in trichomes. The comprehensive transcriptome is a significant resource in cannabis for further research of functional genomics to improve the yield of specialised metabolites with high pharmacological value.

publication date

  • 2019