Genetic individualization of Cannabis sativa by a short tandem repeat multiplex system

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 Jan;393(2):719-26. doi: 10.1007/s00216-008-2500-3. Epub 2008 Dec 6.


Cannabis sativa is the most frequently used of all illicit drugs in the USA. Cannabis has been used throughout history for its stems in the production of hemp fiber, seed for oil and food, and buds and leaves as a psychoactive drug. Short tandem repeats (STRs) were chosen as molecular markers owing to their distinct advantages over other genetic methods. STRs are codominant, can be standardized such that reproducibility between laboratories can be easily achieved, have a high discrimination power, and can be multiplexed. In this study, six STR markers previously described for C. sativa were multiplexed into one reaction. The multiplex reaction was able to individualize 98 cannabis samples (14 hemp and 84 marijuana, authenticated as originating from 33 of the 50 states of the USA) and detect 29 alleles averaging 4.8 alleles per loci. The data did not relate the samples from the same state to each other. This is the first study to report a single-reaction sixplex and apply it to the analysis of almost 100 cannabis samples of known geographic origin.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Cannabis / genetics*
  • DNA, Plant / genetics*
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA, Plant
  • Genetic Markers