SigNature Molecular Tags and Cannabis

What is SigNature molecular tag?

A SigNature® molecular tag is an inert, custom-designed, short chain DNA marker material used to facilitate precise authentication and tracking of commodities, pharmaceuticals and valuables. It is chemically indistinguishable from the DNA found in nature: humans, plants, animals, food and/or bacteria. Applied DNA harnesses the informatics capacity of DNA to create unique DNA codes that are unlike any other. These manufactured DNA codes are referred to as SigNature molecular tags.

Is the molecular tag applied to cannabis safe to consume?

Yes. DNA is present in the human diet at about 100 parts DNA per million parts food (about 1/10th of a gram per day); SigNature molecular tags are present in treated cannabis at levels over 1,000 times less than that found in the food we eat every day. An independent third-party assessment from a leading food and drug safety consulting firm (Ramboll) has classified molecular tags as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) SigNature through “experience based on common use in food prior to January 1, 1958” (21 CFR 170.30 (c) (1)). The FDA s’ Statement of Policy “Food Derived from New Plant Varieties (57 FR 22984, May 29, 1992 Section V.c.)” also points out similarities of molecular tags to the DNA present in food.

What amount of molecular tag is being added to cannabis?

The amount of SigNature molecular tag applied to a gram of cannabis (about 1-part DNA per billion parts cannabis by weight) is about 100 million times less than the DNA typically consumed by humans every day. This amount is about 10,000 times less than the inherent DNA present in the Cannabis itself.

Does the molecular tag persist in the body when consumed?

All DNA ingested from the diet is quickly metabolized and thus disappears once consumed. DNA ingested from food or beverages is never detectable in the blood of a healthy individual. Accordingly, SigNature molecular tags will not be detectable in the body of a person who consumes or smokes tagged cannabis products.

Can the molecular tag applied to cannabis become an environmental contaminant?

No. As is the case with DNA present in organic matter, the SigNature molecular tag breaks down over time. The small amount of SigNature material used to tag cannabis (about 1-part per billion) will decompose in the same fashion as the inherent DNA present in the plant to which it is applied.

Does molecular tagging make the cannabis “GMO”?

No. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are created using genetic modification/engineering techniques. SigNature molecular tags are not:

  • Long enough to be considered a gene
  • Derived from a living organism (therefore have no genetic function)
  • Able to modify another living organism (or cell)

Is there documentation to back-up these several safety arguments?

Applied DNA has obtained expert third-party validation of the DNA safety statements outlined above from world experts in food and pharma safety (Ramboll). Additional references can be supplied upon request.

©2018 Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. v1 2 July 2018