Large-scale whole-genome resequencing unravels the domestication history of Cannabis sativa
Few crops have been under the spotlight of controversy as much as Cannabis sativa. As one of the first domesticated plants, it has a long and fluctuating history interwoven with the economic, social, and cultural development of human societies. Once a major source for textiles, food, and oilseed as hemp, its exploitation to that end declined in the 20th century, while its use as a recreational drug (i.e., marijuana, which is illegal in many countries) has broadened. Although much debated in the past, it is currently widely accepted that the genus Cannabis comprises a single species, C. sativa L., hereafter also referred to as Cannabis [reviewed in (1)]. The plant is annual, wind-pollinated, and predominantly dioecious. It is diploid,
with 10 pairs of chromosomes (2n = 20) and is characterized by an XY/XX chromosomal sex-determining system, with a genome size of about 830 Mb (2–4). On the basis of distribution and archaeobotanical data, a wide region ranging from West Asia through Central Asia to North China has often been suggested as the origin of cultivation for the plant, with its later spread worldwide coinciding with continuous artificial selection and extensive hybridization between locally adapted, traditional landraces and modern commercial cultivars.