Cannabis Mitoviruses: An introduction and state of knowledge
August 18, 2022 By Haley Nagasaki
(Globe Newswire) Vancouver — Segra International Corp., an agriculture technology company, is pleased to announce the publishing of a landmark white paper addressing the recent widespread identification of mitoviruses in cannabis cultivars.
Segra’s white paper authored by Dr John Brunstein titled “An Introduction and State of Knowledge” builds upon the work of two recent independent research groups employing metagenomic search techniques that have reported detection of Mitovirus family sequences in cannabis.
This was something of a surprise, as mitoviruses were previously believed to only exist in fungi; however both research groups provide compelling evidence that the sequences detected are not due to trace fungal contamination.
Mitoviruses are highly unusual as biological entities go. In fact, even calling them a virus borders on misleading as they lack a capsid; combined with their use of the mitochondrial genetic code, they are unable to transmit in many of the ways more normal viruses do.
Based on the recently published cannabis mitovirus (CaMV1) sequences, Segra developed a real-time PCR test and screened a subset of cultivars in the company’s cultivar library for its presence. To date, 77 percent of cultivars screened have been detected as carrying CaMV1. This result was unequivocally confirmed by fragment size analysis and by sequencing of a selection of positive results.
Analysis of the available data suggests that overall CaMV1 may be beneficial in cannabis plants under routine cultivation conditions, or at least have been unwittingly selected for by cannabis breeders historically. As larger data sets are obtained, this will be examined further by Segra and it is possible that individual cultivars and/or conditions where CaMV1 positivity has a detectable impact, positive or negative, may yet be identified.
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