Phylos uses genome sequencing technology to generate DNA “barcodes” that uniquely identify cannabis varieties. This information is important for basic scientific research, and it also serves as proof of existence that can be used to defend against attempts at patenting.
When our customers allow it, we are making this information publicly available. This Data Policy outlines the reasons why we believe this is important, and details the steps we take to protect our customers’ privacy.
Open access to data accelerates scientific progress.
This is especially important in this field, because cannabis science is many decades behind where it should be. We have generated the most complete cannabis genome assembly ever made, along with targeted short-read sequence data from over 1,000 samples collected through the Cannabis Evolution Project and the Phylos Genotype test. Together with a growing coalition of other research groups, we are making this information accessible through the Open Cannabis Project.
Public access to data on cannabis varieties is a critical defense against restrictive plant patents.
Extremely broad cannabis patents are now being granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, limiting access to entire categories of cannabis plants. Publicly available DNA sequence data serves as proof that particular plant varieties exist today, and will function as a critical barrier to the granting of illegitimate or overly broad cannabis patents in the future.
Sharing plant data does nothing to weaken the control that the owner has over the plant.
It does not release the plant itself into the public domain, and it makes it no more difficult for the owner to protect the plant legally in the future. Publicly available data serves as legal documentation that a specific plant was owned by a specific person at a defined point in time, and can therefore be used as evidence to stop other parties from seeking patent protection on that plant or category of plants. DNA sequence data cannot be used to grow plants, to claim ownership over them, or to patent them.
The decision to make data public or private belongs to our customers.
We believe that open access to data on cannabis varieties is important for the industry as a whole. When customers agree to share this data, they are providing proof that their plants exist, and allowing the data to be used for research purposes. Nonetheless, with the privacy rights of our customers in mind, Phylos Bioscience will not release any data that sample submitters choose to keep private. When cannabis samples are submitted for the Phylos Genotype test, the submitter can opt out of sharing the raw data, and they can manage the visibility of their personal information on the Phylos Galaxy. Regardless of these decisions, submitters themselves will have full access to the data, including the raw DNA sequence files.