Genetic variation in hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) according to amplified fragment length polymorphisms

J Forensic Sci. 2006 Mar;51(2):371-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00061.x.


Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is one of the earliest known cultivated plants and is important in the global economy today as a licit and an illicit crop. Molecular markers distinguishing licit and illicit cultivars have forensic utility, but no direct comparison of hemp and marijuana amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) has been made to date. Genetic variation was surveyed in three populations of fiber hemp and a potent cultivar of marijuana using AFLP markers. Ten primer pairs yielded 1206 bands, of which 88% were polymorphic. Eighteen bands represented fixed differences between all fiber populations and the drug cultivar. These markers have practical utility for (1) establishing conspiracy in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, (2) identifying geographic sources of seized drugs, and (3) discriminating illegal, potent marijuana cultivars from hemp where the cultivation of industrial hemp is permitted.

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques*


  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Markers