PROJECT SUMMARY FOR 2001-IJ-CX-K011
This project will be performed by the University of New Haven's Institute of Forensic Science in collaboration with the Connecticut State Forensic Science Laboratory. The research will focus on a single plant species - Cannabis sativa - for the development of a molecular strategy for plant DNA typing. Cannabis (marijuana) was selected because it is an illegal substance grown across the United States and in other countries. The Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) technology will initially be validated for forensic applications. Preliminary studies performed by the grantee have already shown that marijuana plants known to have originated from the same mother plant have identical and reproductible AFLP DNA profiles. Completion of the validation studies will include interlaboratory reproductibility studies, DNA degradation studies, and a survey of marijuana samples from Connecticut and other geographical regions. This database will be used to determine the extent of genetic diversity in marijuana populations and will consist of a minimum of 500 individual samples. This database will additionally allow the estimation of the probability of a random match between two marijuana samples. It is possible that AFLP patterns will group marijuana samples that are genetically related to a similar geographic location. This in turn would aid in tracking distribution networks of this illegal substance. The final phase of this project includes sponsoring plant typing workshops to train other members of the forensic community in the AFLP technique.