One answer “What are the different methods of cannabis breeding?

  1. Cannabis breeding offers growers the ability to shape their crop to meet their desired goals. This can include traits such as potency, breed-specific characteristics, size, resilience and much more. With a variety of breeding methods available, one can achieve a whole host of desired objectives.

    Open pollination is one of the oldest cannabis breeding methods, involving the ‘open’ transfer of pollen from male plants to female flowers. This natural process can be conducted outdoors, though some growers prefer to do it indoors due to a variety of reasons including disturbance from pests and undesirable weather conditions. While this method has many advantages, including a much larger population of viable offspring, it does increase the risk of pollination from other plants, which can result in a less predictable yield with unwanted characteristics and genetics.

    Controlled pollination is a slightly more modern method and is often conducted indoors. This process puts the growers in control, enabling them to handpick the male parent plants they wish to use when producing the offspring. Pollen is then collected, stored and applied manually to the desired female flowers. This method allows growers to avoid undesirable genetics and produce more consistent offspring with generally increased characteristics. However, it can also be difficult to efficiently gather enough viable pollen, as only small, occasional doses can be taken when pollinating due to the rapid rate of spoilage.

    Stabilisation breeding is another popular method and involves a two-step process. The first step involves a few generations of open pollination to create a high degree of genetic variation. In the second step, a controlled selection process then takes place, allowing growers to easily pick out the desirable characteristics and pass them onto subsequent generations until a stable offspring is created. This method is relatively simple and straightforward, meaning growers don’t have to worry about the complexities of controlled pollination. However, it can take a considerably longer time to achieve any desired results.

    Finally, reverse breeding is a more complex method where the breeders strive for a desired environment that cannot be achieved through natural selection. This process involves the use of crosses, inverse cross-breeding and experimental methods to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. This method can be highly rewarding, producing some of the most sought-after and rare strains of cannabis, yet it is also the most difficult and labour intensive, meaning there is a greater risk of less successful attempts.

    Overall, each of these breeding methods has some form of pros and cons that can affect the end result. Open pollination is a great way to achieve a larger, more diverse population but does come with an increased risk of pollination from undesired genetics. Controlled pollination is a great way to ensure a reliable and predictable crop but is time consuming and requires specialist knowledge to collect and store viable pollen. Stabilisation and reverse breeding are relatively straightforward and rewarding, yet can take a considerable amount of time and involve high risk. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the breeder to decide which method is right for the job.

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