Does the perfect 100% uniform, stable and identical seed exist?

stable cannabis seed

A company has developed repellent F1 hybrid cannabis seeds with 100% stability

The Israeli company CanBreed, which operates in the field of seeds and genetics, reports that it has finished grow cannabis seeds genetically stable and genetically uniform. According to CanBreed, it's seeds are the world's first. In April 2021, the first cannabis seeds are expected to hit the Israeli market, which are 100% stable, eliminating the need for cuttings or tissue cultures and can reduce costs and improve quality, according to the Israeli manufacturer, which claims to be the first to do so.

The main weaknesses of growing cannabis sativa L

  • Lack of uniform and improved cannabis and hemp genetics  which have been developed and adapted for mass culture  
  • The dependence of producers on plant cuttings instead of using stable and improved seeds.
  • Producers face falling cannabis prices to  as demand and supply increase, while the costs of growing cannabis and hemp (at best) remain unchanged
  • The cannabis industry, including patients and recreational users, only has access to inconsistent products and does not take full advantage of the benefits of cannabis. 

The crossing of two different varieties of cannabis forms a new hybrid plant F1 (“first generation”). However, all of the cannabis strains that exist on the market today are very heterozygous, which means that any pollination (crosses) between these two different cannabis strains will produce seeds with increased genetic instability. So today each individual seed produced in a pollinated plant, even though it is essentially an F1 hybrid seed, is in principle different from all other seeds of the same plant.

The fact that all seeds are different from each other in a particular plant means that propagating plants from such seeds, even if they are from the same plant, produces plants with different DNA profiles.

This is why the only method available to cannabis growers today, to maintain identical ("true to type") offspring of a single plant (called "mother plant"), is cloning (vegetative propagation or tissue culture. ).

The F1 hybrid seed solution

In contrast, the conventional seed industry calls an F1 hybrid seed a seed developed from the crossing of two distinct 100% homozygous strains - also referred to as "parental lines" (a "female plant" and a "male plant"). Crossing these two stable parental lines always produces the same F1 hybrid seeds, which are not only identical to each other, but are always 100% uniform in their DNA profile.  

F1 hybrid seeds refer to the selective reproduction of a plant by cross-pollination of two different mother plants. In genetics, the term is an abbreviation of Filial 1 - literally "first children". It is sometimes written F1 but the terms mean the same thing.

Hybridization has been around for some time now. Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk, first recorded his results in pea crossing in the 19th century. He took two different but both pure strains (homozygous or same gene) and pollinated them by hand. He noted that the plants grown from the resulting F1 seeds were of a heterozygous or different gene. These new F1 plants carried the characteristics that were dominant in each parent, but which were not identical to either. Peas were the first documented F1 plants and from Mendel's experiments the field of genetics was born.

Plants do not pollinatethey not in the wild? Of course they do. F1 hybrids can occur naturally if the conditions are right. Peppermint, for example, is the result of a natural cross between two other varieties of mint. However, the F1 hybrid seeds that you find packaged on the seed rack at your local garden center are different from wild cross seeds in that their resulting plants are created by controlled pollination. Since the parent species are fertile, one can pollinate the other to produce these peppermint seeds.

What about the peppermint we just mentioned? It is perpetuated by the regrowth of its root system and not by the seeds. Plants are sterile and cannot be propagated by normal genetic reproduction, which is another common characteristic of F1 plants. Most are either sterile or their seeds do not reproduce properly, and yes, in some cases seed companies do it with genetic engineering so that their F1 plant refinements cannot be stolen and reproduced. Why use F1 hybrid seeds?

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What are F1 hybrid seeds used for and are they better than heirloom varieties?

The use of F1 plants really flourished when people started shopping for vegetables more in grocery chains than in their own backyards. Plant breeders were looking for more uniform color and size, looking for more precise harvest times and shipping durability.

Today, plants are developed for a specific purpose, and not all of these reasons relate to trade. Some F1 seeds can ripen faster and flower earlier, making the plant more suited to shorter growing seasons. Yields of some F1 seeds could be higher, resulting in larger harvests on a smaller area. One of the most important achievements of hybridization is disease resistance. There is also something called hybrid vigor. Plants grown from F1 hybrid seeds tend to grow stronger and have higher survival rates than their homozygous parents. These plants need fewer pesticides and other chemical treatments to survive, and that's good for the environment. There are some drawbacks to using F1 hybrid seeds, however. F1 seeds are often more expensive because they cost more to produce. All this hand pollination doesn't come cheap, and neither does the lab that tests these plants. F1 seeds cannot be harvested by the thrifty gardener for use the following year. Some gardeners feel that flavor has been sacrificed for uniformity and these gardeners might be right, but others might disagree when they taste that first sweet taste of summer in a tomato that matures weeks before inheritance. So what are F1 hybrid seeds? F1 seeds are useful additions to the home garden. They have their strengths and weaknesses just like grandma's heirloom plants. Gardeners shouldn't be fooled into fashion or fancy, but should try a range of selections from any source until they find the varieties that best suit their gardening needs.

The professional term "F1 Hybrid Seeds" is misused today in the cannabis seed industry 

It is not certain that these are the first "stable seeds" in the world, as there are companies abroad which claim to have made it, but there is a reasonable possibility that the claim is correct and the proof is apparent is that the companies on the ground are not using the seeds precisely because of the instability.

It is also not certain that these are indeed 100% stable seeds, such as claims the company because no research results have been presented and apparently so far no objective factors have been tested to indicate the credibility of the claims. On the other hand, it is also possible to trust a company that publishes such a figure that will not risk discovering anything else later.

Either way, this is a message that can be very meaningful, if correct, because if the stability of cannabis plants can truly be achieved over generations using seeds only, then there is apparently no no need for common substitutes, cuttings or tissue cultures, which are an industry in themselves. On which the entire commercial cannabis market is based.

Earlier this year, the company reported the end of 3 years of research and development, which resulted in the production of 100% stable strains with the same genetics (“homozygous lines”). Now, on the basis of hybrids between these homozygous varieties, the new stable hybrid seeds (F1 Hybrid Seeds) have been produced.

"Stable and uniformly seeded F1 hybrids, with improved genetics, will solve the main problem of the cannabis industry which suffers from homelessness and normalization due to the lack of genetic stability of plants and consequently production costs. which are detrimental to producers' profits, ”the company explains.

These stable seeds will ensure reproducibility, standardization and high quality of the raw material for the entire cannabis industry, says Margalit. In the current cycle, dozens of new stable varieties with a diverse genetic background were bred which will be planted for review on the growing and seed production farms of the company being established. At the end of the examination phase, which should end in the first half of 2021, the seeds of varieties that will meet market demands will be marketed.

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Genetically stable

As mentioned, unlike most agricultural crops which are grown from stable seeds, the propagation of cannabis plants is usually done, and probably in well-organized commercial ventures, by cloning by cutting cuttings from mother plants ("mothers ”) Or by tissue cultures. Cloning is done to ensure genetic identity between offspring and mother plants.

The reason that until now it was not possible to get the dishes in cannabis seed products from seeds is that the cannabis seeds on the market today are mostly if not all heterozygous. (genetically unstable) and hybridization between two unstable cannabis strains will produce seeds with great genetic diversity. exactly.

The company claims that cuttings are a suitable substitute for cannabis plants, the raw material extracted from cannabis plants grown from cuttings will not always be from the herd as cloning guarantees the genetic identity between the offspring and the mother plant but the use of cuttings as well as tissue cultures does not prevent aging of the maternal plant. (“Mothers”) whose cuttings or tissue were taken.

"Naturally, like the process that takes place in every living organism, including humans, mother plants undergo mutations and genomic changes as they age that cause differences in the expression levels of different chemical components. of the plant, ”he explains. “This fact leads to the fact that despite genetic identity, the chemical profile of the offspring of old mother plants is different from that of the offspring of these mother plants when they were young. "

The solution to this problem according to the company comes from the seed industry. In the agricultural industry, plants are grown, such as tomato seedlings, watermelon corn, etc., exclusively from stable seeds which ensure genetic uniformity which allows quality growth and flats are produced. Stable seeds, such as tomato and corn seeds, etc. used in the agricultural industry, are produced from homozygous plants from parental lines (100% stable plants).

Hybridization of homozygous plants

According to the company, “Hybridizing two different homozygous plants has produced seeds that are 'identical twins', meaning that all seeds in the hybridization product will have the same DNA. These seeds are known in the seed industry as F1 hybrid seeds. Using F1 hybrid seeds will always result in plants that are identical to each other, eliminating the need for cannabis and hemp cloning and ensuring the apartments have the raw material produced from the plant.

Along with the development of stable seeds, CannBreed is attempting to develop a specific platform, improved genetic traits and containing a large number of traits (genetics) that cannabis growers need for consistent, high quality, large-scale and low cost . The culture of these characteristics is carried out by the company using an innovative genomic editing cutting tool called “CRISPR”. According to the company's estimate, once development is complete, the stable “CanBreed” hybrid seeds will also contain these properties.

One of the solutions the company hopes to provide through the development of technology CRISPR is trait resistance against scab - one of the most troublesome plant diseases that cannabis growers face. According to the company, she was able to perform and identify an alteration in the cannabis plant's genome using CRISPR-Cas9 so that it was resistant to the fungus.

The company also recently announced that it has purchased a farm farm in the San Diego area of ​​California, United States. On the farm, they plan to set up a facility to produce stable hemp seeds for the US market. According to them, the initial production of the facility is expected to be around 12,5 million seeds per year and will increase later to around 50 million seeds per year.

Propagating plants from 1% uniform F100 hybrid seeds will always result in identical plants, thus eliminating the need for cloning cannabis and hemp.  

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