Ag-Tech Companies 22nd Century And KeyGene Partner To Develop Cannabis Lines

22nd Century Group Inc. has announced a worldwide strategic research and development partnership with KeyGene to research and produce hemp and cannabis plants with extraordinary cannabinoid and terpene profiles for medical applications and other uses.

22nd Century was founded in 1998 by Joseph Pandolfino to research and develop tobacco with reduced nicotine content to help people successfully quit smoking, and KeyGene specializes in rapid, cost-effective, non-GM crop improvement through molecular breeding to bring better crops to market more quickly.

The partnership will provide 22nd Century access to a “unique suite of crop innovation platforms” which include molecular genetics, genomics, trait discovery, and breeding technologies. The plan is to utilize molecular breeding and other widely-used crop improvement technologies and apply them to cannabis and hemp plants.

As part of the collaboration, 22nd Century will be creating a genetic database through the genomic analysis of several hundred existing cannabis and hemp lines to help accelerate the company’s development of enhanced plants.

“22nd Century’s exclusive global collaboration with KeyGene is expected to yield truly remarkable and novel medicinal cannabinoid profiles and other highly desirable agronomic traits,” said 22nd Century President and CEO, Henry Sicignano III in a statement. “Combined with 22 Century’s existing hemp/cannabis plant lines, the KeyGene program will bolster 22 Century’s position as a global leader in hemp/cannabis genetics and, we expect, will lead to significant commercialization ventures and other opportunities.”

The company will also be analyzing genomic sequences of multiple cannabis species to identify genetic markers, and creating a proprietary high-resolution molecular genetic map of the entire cannabis plant genome to facilitate quicker and cheaper development of lines for specific traits than conventional methods.

The program will take place at multiple locations in the Netherlands and the United States.