One answer “Selective Breeding of Cannabis

  1. Selective breeding of cannabis plants is a process that has been practiced by cannabis cultivators for many years in order to create strains with desired traits. This method of breeding is vastly different from traditional breeding methods, as it is focused more closely on finding the most desirable trait combinations of specific plants and less on uniformity. While selective breeding can be used to create proprietary cultivars, it is not the same process as GMO breeding. Instead, the focus is on “selecting out” undesirable traits and “selecting in” desirable traits.

    The first step in the process is to identify desired traits. Cannabis breeders have a plethora of desirable traits to consider such as high THC concentrations, plant height, resin production, aroma, and flowering time. Since no two plants are the same, it can take years of careful observation and testing to find the most suitable parents. Once a breed has achieved a desired trait, they can begin the process of selection.

    The second step in the selective breeding process is to decide which plants will contribute to the offspring. This can be done through cross-pollination, which is when a female plant (the one with the desired traits) is pollinated with a male plant’s pollen. The seeds produced by these plants will contain genetic traits from both parents. Selective breeding also includes techniques such as self-pollination, in which the male and female parts are from the same plant, and cloning, which involves identifying desirable plants and then cloning them.

    The third step of the process is to grow out the offspring and evaluate them for their desired traits. This is the time for growers to see if the genetic combination of their parents produced something desirable. They also consider the other traits of the offspring, such as vigor and their level of susceptibility to pests and pathogens. If the breeder isn’t satisfied with the traits of the offspring, they can discard them and start again with a different set of parents. If the breeder is satisfied, they will select the best plants and terminate the other ones.

    The last step of the selective breeding process is to stabilize the strain. This is done by inbreeding within a closed population. Breeders will repeat the same process of breeding a desired trait several times in succession with the same set of plants until they are sure that the desired trait will remain stable and not change over time. This is what separates selective breeding from traditional breeding, in which the same trait can be crossed with various unrelated breeds and the resultant hybrid may not remain stable over time.

    Selective breeding of cannabis plants is a time-consuming and painstakingly meticulous process. The amount of time and effort invested can have a great payoff for breeders, however, as the process can yield unique and favorable genetics that can be used to create proprietary cultivars. As the legal cannabis industry continues to expand, selective breeding is likely to become even more important as a source of cultivator’s creativity.

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