Originally published in the Cannabis Scientist
Why is it innovative?
If female Cannabis sativa plants are pollinated (by pollen from a rogue male/hermaphrodite plant on the same site or drifting across from a neighbor’s farm) it causes the plant to produce seeds instead of buds and significantly reduces overall biomass – disastrous for farmers.
Oregon CBD claims farmers can avoid this risk altogether. How? Wild cannabis is usually diploid (two sets of chromosomes) but spontaneous mutations can produce plants that are tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes). By crossing diploid and tetraploid plants Oregon CBD scientist Hsuan Chen and colleagues created triploid plants, which have a number of advantages – most importantly, they produce sterile flowers and pollen, eliminating the risk of accidental fertilization.
What is the potential impact?
According to the company, farmers using the triploid seeds will no longer have to worry about crop loss due to pollination events, and can grow grain and fiber crops alongside cannabinoid crops without issue. Test grows of the triploid plants suggest that the increase in ploidy also makes for more vigorous, hardy, and aromatic (via increased secondary metabolite production) plants.
The judges said…
Cross-pollination is a phenomenon that can ruin entire crops at a time. Avoiding and mitigating this risk through promising technology like triploid seeds will increase revenues and give farmers peace of mind during cultivation.
Pollination of crops, causing the development of seeds and resulting in lower yields and potency, is a huge problem in cannabis, especially in outdoor settings like California and Oregon.
This could change the entire growing portion of the industry so the potential impact is huge.
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