Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 481–485 | Cite as

Results of molecular analysis of an archaeological hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) DNA sample from North West China

  • Ashutosh Mukherjee
  • Satyesh Chandra RoyEmail author
  • S. De Bera
  • Hong-En Jiang
  • Xiao Li
  • Cheng-Sen Li
  • Subir Bera
Short Communication


Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivation and utilization is an ancient practice to human civilization. There are some controversies on the origin and subsequent spread of this species. Ancient plant DNA has proven to be a powerful tool to solve phylogenetic problems. In this study, ancient DNA was extracted from an archaeological specimen of Cannabis sativa associated with archaeological human remains from China. Ribosomal and Cannabis specific chloroplast DNA regions were PCR amplified. Sequencing of a species-specific region and subsequent comparison with published sequences were performed. Successful amplification, sequencing and sequence comparison with published data suggested the presence of hemp specific DNA in the archeological specimen. The role of Humulus japonicus Sieb. et Zucc. in the evolution of Cannabis is also indicated. The identification of ancient DNA of 2500 years old C. sativa sample showed that C. sativa races might have been introduced into China from the European–Siberian center of diversity.


Archaeological DNA Hemp phylogeny Humulus japonicus Species identification Yanghai Tombs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashutosh Mukherjee
    • 1
  • Satyesh Chandra Roy
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. De Bera
    • 2
  • Hong-En Jiang
    • 3
    • 4
  • Xiao Li
    • 5
  • Cheng-Sen Li
    • 3
    • 6
  • Subir Bera
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyDinabandhu MahavidyalayaBongaon, North 24 ParganasIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Graduate SchoolChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Bureau of Cultural Relics of Turpan PrefectureXinjiangChina
  6. 6.Beijing Museum of Natural HistoryBeijingChina

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