Saturday, February 15, 2020 • 1–3 p.m.

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Research Associate Daniela Vergara, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

In this lecture, Vergara, a research associate who is also part of the cannabis industry, will describe the latest results of her cannabis genomics research. Vergara has been studying the genetic diversity of multiple cannabis varieties in an attempt to shed light on largely unexplored questions, such as the genetic variables that control tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) production and the biological mechanisms that give the plant its psychoactive effects. Her research has also shown the limitations of using federal government cannabis, because it lacks potency and variation. She will discuss future research directions and how her investigation can inform consumers, legislators, growers and breeders.

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About this Presenter

Daniela Vergara portraitDaniela Vergara is an evolutionary biologist researching cannabis genomics at the University of Colorado Boulder. In addition to her multiple publications on cannabis, she founded and directs the Agricultural Genomics Foundation, which seeks to make cannabis science available to a broad public. Vergara’s latest scientific publication compared federal cannabis to that produced by the private market, showing that the government’s cannabis lacked potency and variation. Other scientific publications include a compilation on the existing genomic tools available for cannabis research, which she authored while working as part of Assistant Professor Nolan Kane's lab at CU Boulder. These publications are a product of collaborations between graduate and undergraduate students, and scientists from the cannabis industry.

Together Vergara and Kane founded the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative to explore the cannabis genome. Currently, Vergara is exploring the genes related to the production of CBD and THC, and is associating this important physical trait to the genome. Vergara has a doctorate from Indiana University, where she explored host-parasite co-evolution and researched one of the biggest questions in evolutionary biology: why organisms bother with male/female sexual reproduction at all instead of having female members clone themselves in perpetuity. For more information, visit Vergara's website.