Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 161–180 | Cite as

Genetic evidence for speciation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae)

  • Karl W. HilligEmail author


Sample populations of 157 Cannabis accessions of diverse geographic origin were surveyed for allozyme variation at 17 gene loci. The frequencies of 52 alleles were subjected to principal components analysis. A scatter plot revealed two major groups of accessions. The sativa gene pool includes fiber/seed landraces from Europe, Asia Minor, and Central Asia, and ruderal populations from Eastern Europe. The indica gene pool includes fiber/seed landraces from eastern Asia, narrow-leafleted drug strains from southern Asia, Africa, and Latin America, wide-leafleted drug strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and feral populations from India and Nepal. A third putative gene pool includes ruderal populations from Central Asia. None of the previous taxonomic concepts that were tested adequately circumscribe the sativa and indica gene pools. A polytypic concept of Cannabis is proposed, which recognizes three species, C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis, and seven putative taxa.


Allozyme Cannabis Evolution Genetics Origin Taxonomy 



– principal components analysis


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Ballston LakeUSA

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