Tag Archives: Breeding

Research & Development at Grandma’s Genetics

Between the numerous blogs and seed banks in the cannabis field, we have made it our goal to explain and at the same time promote the topic of breeding and R&D from the ground up so that others can benefit from it as well. Knowledge should always be free in the first place and science is what we don’t know yet, because science is knowledge that improves itself over an undefined period of time. Therefore it is also difficult to talk about facts at certain points. It is probably rather the well-known “Bro-Science”.

But let’s start with the actual topic and slowly work our way through the individual points.

What does Research & Development in Agriculture stand for and how can it best be implemented just as effectively on smaller private acreage or collectively?

Research & Development (R&D) in agriculture refers to the research and development of new technologies, practices and procedures in agriculture to improve efficiency, yields and sustainability. For example, this includes developing new seed varieties, improving farming practices, researching pest management methods, and developing water and resource management technologies.

To effectively implement R&D on smaller private plots or collectively, there are a few options:

1. Cooperate with other farmers: By joining forces with other farmers, resources and ideas can be shared to achieve common goals.

As some of you may have noticed, in 2022 we launched our first small “Research & Development Program” to which anyone who was interested could apply. Of course, there were a few small requirements. It is important to us that our testers are up to the tasks at hand and can keep a detailed diary in text and picture form.

At Grandma’s Genetics, it is important to us to test and have tested new genetics extensively before making them available to the general public if the test results are positive. Only when a new cross grows sufficiently stable, it has the chance to be included in the main menu. If there are important comments, we always include them.

Our goal is to work together on new genetics. If a tester even finds two potential parents and produces a good subsequent generation, this can be tested again and included in our menu, should it meet the requirements of stable genetics.

2. Collaboration with universities and research-oriented organizations: By collaborating with academic institutions and organizations involved in agricultural research, growers can gain access to new technologies and expertise.

We are proud and happy to have students from universities and individuals with academic degrees in our inner circle. They support us in testing new genetics, research projects and detailed reports and articles.

We are in constant exchange to share and compile new ideas, technologies, theories and findings.

Together with Lorenz from Research Gardens we have already published two articles on our blog, you can find them here.

3. Use of open source technologies: There are many open source technologies and tools available for free to farmers to perform R&D on their land.

Open source software for agriculture: there are a number of open source software tools that can help farmers monitor and manage their fields and crops. One example is “FarmOS“, a web-based farming platform that allows farmers to collect, store, and analyze data about their fields and crops.

Open source hardware for agriculture: there are also a number of open source hardware projects that can help farmers monitor and optimize their farming activities. One example is the “Arduino FarmShield“, an open-source kit that allows farmers to automatically monitor and control their fields and crops.Open

Source Plant Varieties: There is also a growing movement to release and distribute open source plant varieties, allowing farmers to build their own seed bank and increase diversity. One example is The Open Source Seed Initiative, an organization dedicated to making open source seeds available and increasing diversity in agriculture.

4. Participation in agricultural exhibitions and fairs: By participating in agricultural exhibitions and fairs, farmers can discover new technologies and practices and exchange ideas with other farmers and experts.

Of course, we are present at exhibitions as well as trade shows. However, we limit ourselves to the most important events, where most of our prospective customers can be found. It should be noted that we are a small team, which does not have large budgets or VC/investors available and therefore tries to work as economically viable as possible. We therefore ask for your understanding if we are not so easy to find. However, everyone is free to contact us if there are any questions about one of our products or which distributors can be found at which trade fairs.

5. Use of online resources and communities: There are many online resources and communities related to agriculture and R&D where growers can share ideas and experiences.

For sure you came across us because you already know some of our work from Instagram, Grow Diaries or other forums. So it is self-explanatory that we use such networks and platforms to constantly grow our community. Nevertheless, we want to stay as independent as possible and would be happy if you subscribe to our newsletter.

We do not send unnecessary emails, which bother you with constant advertising & Co., because the trust and peace of mind of our community is very important to us.

We hunt terpenes: effects, interactions, flavors.

When grandma used to come back from her heath walks with fresh limes from the [...]

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CRISPR/Cas9 in Cannabis – The Future of Genetic Engineering

What is CRISPR?

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is an innovative biotechnology tool based on a natural safety function in bacteria. It uses a protein called Cas9 and a bound RNA (gRNA) with a 17-20 nucleotide sequence to recognize and cut specific segments of DNA. In biotechnology, CRISPR is used as genetic scissors to modify genes and create new functions.

How long has gene modification existed in animals and plants?

Gene modification in animals and plants is not a new technology. The first gene was inserted into a plant cell as early as the 1980s. Since then, the technology has evolved and it has become possible to specifically modify genes to achieve desired traits such as resistance to pests or higher yields.

How does CRISPR work in plants?

CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to selectively cut genes in plants to change specific traits. To do this, the CRISPR/Cas9 system is inserted into the plant cell, where it finds the desired gene and cuts it. A new gene can then be inserted to confer the desired trait. The modification is then transferred to the offspring.

Diagram of CRISPR Process

Source: Crisprtx.com

What companies are already working with CRISPR in the cannabis industry?

A number of companies working in the cannabis sector are already using CRISPR. These include:

  • Ebbu: This company, acquired by Canopy Growth Corp. in 2018, was one of the first to use CRISPR to create single-cannabinoid strains.

  • Sunrise Genetics: In 2018, Sunrise Genetics managed to decode the genome of cannabis.

  • CanBreed: Since 2017, CanBreed, an Israeli genetic seed company, has been part of the cannabis industry. In 2020, it acquired a CRISPR/Cas9 patent, making it the first company to have a CRISPR license in the industry.

How can CRISPR help in terms of cannabis breeding/seeds?

  • Increasing quality: CRISPR can be used to modify certain genes in cannabis plants to increase the concentration of THC or CBD, or to decrease undesirable traits such as odor.

  • Increasing yields: By modifying genes responsible for plant growth and flowering, yields can be increased.

  • Pest resistance: CRISPR can be used to add genes that make plants more resistant to pests and diseases.

  • Improving growing conditions: CRISPR can be used to add genes that allow plants to better cope with adverse climate conditions such as drought or flooding.

  • Standardizing seeds: CRISPR can be used to standardize seeds so that they have consistent traits, making them valuable for farming and growing cannabis plants.

In the cannabis industry, CRISPR thus offers great opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of cultivation.

Whether the use of CRISPR is “ethically correct” is a matter of debate. But the fact is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in 2018 that it would not regulate CRISPR-modified crops as long as the modifications were made with related plant DNA.

This announcement paved the way for further research and application of CRISPR in agriculture and plant breeding.

In summary, CRISPR/Cas9 is a powerful tool in biotechnology that allows scientists to target and modify genes to create new traits in plants and animals. This has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and plant breeding and improve livelihoods and food security worldwide.

We hunt terpenes: effects, interactions, flavors.

When grandma used to come back from her heath walks with fresh limes from the [...]

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Hermaphrodite plants are natural and part of cultivating cannabis, even if it is an uncomfortable [...]

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The ingredients of the cannabis plant have fascinated us humans for over 5000 years. Even [...]

Hermaphrodites – origins, implications and what the future holds

Hermaphrodite plants are natural and part of cultivating cannabis, even if it is an uncomfortable topic with many. But is their reputation really that bad?

It has not been scientifically proven that hermaphroditism is a negative trait in cannabis plants. However, it is important to note that hermaphroditism can also have disadvantages, such as passing on faulty DNA sequences, instability or disease.

Ultimately, whether hermaphroditism is considered positive or negative depends on a breeder’s breeding goals and specific requirements.

Origin and reasons of hermaphrodites

It is not to be neglected that if hermaphrodite traits are overlooked in a breeding program, they can become noticeable later. Often hermaphrodite traits are not even present in every generation and can also have many backgrounds.

  • Older gene information from earlier times, when plants were monoecious.

  • Cell division errors due to hormone fluctuations or signal interruptions.

  • Meiosis errors where chromosomes do not divide correctly and faulty pollen grains pollinated the female plant. (Meiosis: “maturity division” – the process by which male and female genes randomly mix in a new generation)

Not every hermaphrodite is the same.

Low Herm: A plant that occasionally produces a banana/pollen sac due to stress, or repeatedly in almost the same place, for example on the lowest shoot.

Median Hermaphrodit
Median Herm: A seed plant which forms several or isolated pollen sacs under each flower or internode (also called leaf axis) in the first run. Clones taken from this plant also show the same characteristics or less, forming only isolated pollen sacs, but no longer on each flower/shoot.

Strong Hermaphrodit
Strong Herm: A plant that obviously develops both sexual characteristics. You can clearly see the formation of male pollen sacs on the top shoot (headbud) and white hairs (also called pistils or stigma, which grow from the calyx) that the female plants form to capture the pollen and ensure their survival.

Those who study cannabis culture in depth will come to similar conclusions. If you take a look at Afghanistan or Pakistan or at the Moroccan fields, you will often find a strongly occurring hermaphrodite in the middle of the field there as well. Often these form all the male pollen sacs on the lower half, which pollinate the upper part of the plant, as it expresses female characteristics there, which capture the pollen and produce new seeds to ensure their survival as mentioned above. This can also be observed in the Strain Hunter episodes from Greenhouse Seeds.

Effects of hermaphrodites

In today’s cannabis world, where it is often all about “bag appeal” or the next hype, it is often forgotten that most strains are strong poly hybrids. These often have such long pedigrees that you have to scroll twice on seedfinder.eu to get to the end.

Of course, we also tried to work with such genetics. Some varieties were stable enough, while others were completely unstable. Here, there were no differences between new high class brands or old breeders. Hermaphrodite plants appeared pretty much everywhere, but also good phenotypes, which had the potential to cultivate them multiple times and create something new with them.

That’s exactly why we keep preaching to get to know your genetics as best as possible before you continue working with them. It often takes several runs, as well as different seasons with different conditions, to find out exactly how stable your genetics are.

The future of hermaphrodites

In the future, so-called “phenohunt(s)” will most likely take place in the lab. This requires only a fraction of a DNA sequence to reproduce the genetic code and the resulting plant. Such DNA sequences can be analyzed for a wide variety of traits such as growth, resistance or taste.

This is also called “marker-assisted breeding” which is a new form of selection.

Marker-assisted breeding (MAB) is a modern method of plant breeding that uses genetic markers to identify and transfer specific traits in plants. It is a more precise and efficient method than traditional breeding and allows breeders to achieve specific traits faster and with higher probability.

MAB is supported by the use of DNA markers that identify specific genes responsible for certain traits such as plant height, yield and disease resistance. Breeders can test plants for these markers to select those that exhibit the desired traits. This speeds up the breeding process and produces higher-quality results.

Undesirable traits or characteristics that have been inherited through previous genetics could be repaired, replaced or even further manipulated through CRISPR/Cas9.

If these topics interest you, feel free to read on here: CRISPR/Cas9 in Cannabis – The Future of Genetic Engineering

Until next time.

Love,
Grandma

What does breeding actually mean?

The aim of plant breeding is the genetic modification of plant populations to improve biological [...]

THC, CBD, CBG & CBN: The best-known cannabinoids at a glance

The ingredients of the cannabis plant have fascinated us humans for over 5000 years. Even [...]

We hunt terpenes: effects, interactions, flavors.

When grandma used to come back from her heath walks with fresh limes from the [...]

What does F1, S1, BX1 & IBL stand for?

“F1”, “IBL”, “BX” and “S1” are terms used in cannabis breeding to describe different generations of cannabis strains. Here are the main differences:

F1

F1 stands for “First Hybrid Generation”. It is the first generation resulting from a cross between two different parent plants. Often F1 hybrid plants show distinct traits of the pollinated mother plant as well as mild to moderately strong traits of the father (pollen donor). This is also referred to as dominant and recessive traits.

If someone then breeds an F2 generation by crossing an F1 Female with an F1 Male from the same batch, the diversity of the different traits and characteristics is already significantly greater. Also disease characteristics from earlier generations become clearly more visible. Therefore, from this point on, it becomes more and more important to select particularly thoroughly. To work your way through generation after generation to the inbred line (IBL), you should have a precise goal in mind, which you are working towards in terms of growth, resistance, taste and effect.

In today’s cannabis world where a lot of crossbreeding is going on and most strains are already hybrids, we always notice that certain breeders keep talking about F1 without having thoroughly analyzed the pedigree of both pairs of parents.

Inside the cannabis bubble a true F1 requires that no identical varieties from previous generations overlap in the pedigree of both pairs of parents. So if the female mother plant and the associated male, both have a Skunk #1 in their curriculum vitae, then this hybrid cross is not F1 genetics!

Outside the cannabis bubble, i.e. in agriculture, which is regulated, we talk about F1 hybrid varieties as soon as a so-called heterosis effect has been achieved. This happens when you have two parent lines, which in the best case do not have the same pedigrees and which have been crossed with themselves about eight times. We are talking about a “Selfing” (Female/Reversed) and not a regular (Male/Female) pollination.

The selfing process (S1) is explained in more detail below.

If this process is repeated up to eight times (S8), both pairs of parents are genetically so far apart that when crossing these two parents, a so-called heterosis effect occurs, which makes the plant appear even larger, stronger and more stable.

See also: CRISPR/Cas9 in Cannabis – The Future of Genetic Engineering

IBL

IBL stands for “Inbred Line.” It refers to seeds that come from a stable and inbred line of parent plants. Here, at each generation (F1, F2, F3, etc.), a breeder can select his most appealing female as well as males and cross them with each other to work through generation after generation and enhance certain positive traits and mitigate negative traits, if any. IBL plants show less genetic variability and are usually hardy and robust. It is often referred to as an inbred line (IBL) from the eighth generation (F8) onwards, as this variety has so often been mated with its own siblings, rather than with other genotypes which have a completely different pedigree.

See also: Genotype vs. Phenotype – What’s the difference?

If you want to do a really serious IBL project, you should make sure from the first F1 generation that both parents, or at least one of the two, already comes from a stable inbred line. This at least increases the chance that bad traits have already been bred out of these genetics. Again, sites like seedfinder.eu should be used to research the pedigrees and histories of the individual varieties. Many seed banks nowadays randomly cross two hybrids with each other and throw them on the retail market as “stable F1 genetics”. Whether these genetics are really that stable is debatable. This certainly depends on the breeder and his selection. Poly-hybrid genetics can also have very interesting properties. Some of the best known varieties are even derived from hermaphrodite pollination or so-called bagseeds.

See also: Hermaphrodites – origins, implications and what the future holds

BX

BX stands for “backcross.” It is a method in which a hybrid is crossed with one of its parent plants (the same male that served in the first pollination to create the hybrid) to obtain or improve certain desired traits.

BX seeds usually have a good combination of stability and desired traits.There are a wide variety of backcrossing methods. However, the most popular is as described above, in which the same male plant is taken over and over again and re-matched with a female plant from the first generation or from the already successful backcross to produce new seeds again.

With our Critical Cake (Wedding Cake x Critical Kush) cross, we did two backcrosses. The first was with Critical Cake #1 which in turn was pollinated with the same Critical Kush male as Wedding Cake from which Critical Cake was created. We named the resulting strain Grandma’s OG, as it showed distinct OG characteristic traits for us.

Another backcross was made with our Critical Cake #7. This phenotype showed traits of both parent pairs. It has fast growth, produces beautiful thick flowers that turn purple towards harvest, and has a berry-like cake aroma. Since our goal was to match the flavor of Wedding Cake with the flower growth of Critical Kush, this backcross proved successful and she became our official Critical Cake BX1.

S1

S1 stands for “Selfed” or “Self Pollination”. It is a method in which a specific female phenotype is selected to produce the next generation of seeds. The method of S1 production often involves the use of stress conditions, such as chemical treatments (STS spray) or light manipulation, to induce the plant to develop male sexual characteristics so that it can self-pollinate or another plant that has not been stress treated and thus serves as the recipient of the pollen.

See also: The difference between Regular, Feminist and Automatic Seeds

S1 seeds usually produce only female plants and may also have unique traits that are not present in other generations. However, since these are genetically-manipulated seeds, the number of hermaphrodites could also be increased.

It is important to note that these terms are not standardized and may be used differently from breeder to breeder. Therefore, it is important to carefully study the specific characteristics and properties of hemp seeds before buying them.

CRISPR/Cas9 in Cannabis – The Future of Genetic Engineering

What is CRISPR? CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is an innovative biotechnology tool [...]

Hermaphrodites – origins, implications and what the future holds

Hermaphrodite plants are natural and part of cultivating cannabis, even if it is an uncomfortable [...]

Genotype vs. Phenotype – What’s the difference?

Genotype and phenotype are terms used in genetics and refer to the characteristics of plants. [...]

Differences between Regular, Feminized and Automatic Seeds

Regular, feminized and automatic seeds differ in terms of their use and purpose in growing cannabis.

Automatic Seeds

Automatic or ruderalis genetics in cannabis refers to plants that self-pollinate independently of light cycles and thus flower automatically. This type of cannabis plant is shorter and bushier than regular or feminized plants, making it more suitable for growing in cooler climates or indoor systems with limited space.

Unlike regular and feminized plants that usually take several months to flower, Ruderalis plants flower in a much shorter time of just a few weeks. This makes them a preferred choice for growers who need a faster yield.

However, ruderalis plants usually produce lower THC levels compared to regular or feminized plants. Therefore, they are usually mixed or hybridized to achieve greater THC production.

Regular Seeds

Regular seeds are usually used when you intend to grow plants to produce more seeds. The seedlings from regular seeds can become both male and female.

Growers who work with regular seeds on a small area and do NOT aim for pollination often identify the male plants after about 14 days in the flowering phase and select them out. This avoids pollination and production of seeds..

See also: What does F1, S1, BX1 & IBL stand for?

Feminized Seeds

Feminized seeds, on the other hand, are used when one needs exclusively female plants, as they are the ones that produce the sought-after THC-rich resin. Feminized seeds have been modified to produce only female plants.

It is important to note that if mishandled or stressed, there is a possibility that feminized plants can mutate into male plants. Therefore, it is important to grow feminized seeds under controlled conditions and avoid stress.

See also: Hermaphrodites – origins, implications and what the future holds

In summary, regular seeds are for growers who want more control over the growing process, while feminized seeds are for growers who want to produce female plants as efficiently as possible.

As an addition: How are feminized or female-only seeds created?

STS spray is often used to manipulate the plant so that it then passes on only its X heterosome to produce feminized seed. This process interferes with hormone synthesis and hormone balance.
Indeed, the application of STS suppresses the production of ethylene, which is necessary for the expression of FEMALE sexual characteristics and reproductive organs. In the absence of ethylene, male pollen sacs develop in the place where female flowers would otherwise develop.

Since the female plant treated with STS contains only X chromosomes, the pollen from the plant treated by STS also contains only X chromosomes. Thus, the result, i.e., the seeds from the pollinated female flowers of our STS-treated plant, do not contain a mixture of Y and X chromosomes as in nature, but only X and X.

By the fact that STS tends to recombine/destroy/create new genes in increased amounts, feminization can both increase and decrease hermaphroditic pleasure. The hermy-promoting gene can be both destroyed by STS and “created” again by recombination.

What does F1, S1, BX1 & IBL stand for?

“F1”, “IBL”, “BX” and “S1” are terms used in cannabis breeding to describe different generations [...]

Research & Development at Grandma’s Genetics

Between the numerous blogs and seed banks in the cannabis field, we have made it [...]

Hermaphrodites – origins, implications and what the future holds

Hermaphrodite plants are natural and part of cultivating cannabis, even if it is an uncomfortable [...]

What does breeding actually mean?

The aim of plant breeding is the genetic modification of plant populations to improve biological and economic properties. It is based on plant selection, seed treatment or crossing with subsequent selection of daughter plants for the next breeding cycle or subsequent propagation as seeds of a new plant variety (seed breeding).

Since you have now read the official declaration of “breeding”, we would like to say a few things about it and one thing directly in advance: All texts here are purely for information purposes as well as for further education and pure entertainment. It is a subjective opinion summarized from experiences and stories collected over the years.We are not calling for imitation of any of these things or anything like that.

Everyone breeds in his own way. To call things “wrong” or “right” is not our thing, because there are no limits to creative freedom. Some prefer to work in small fields while others prefer a small garden with smaller pots, because it is the seed that makes each plant unique.

See also: Genotype vs. Phenotype – What’s the difference?

Every breeder is his own blacksmith, cook and teacher at the same time and this is a good thing, because each of them makes his own experiences and thus tells his own universal story. But between all the interesting stories one thing will always remain the same. Breeding means investing a lot of time and effort. Because new and interesting terpene profiles are not available at every corner and not every female plant gets along with every male.

Breeding new and interesting varieties involves planting a wide range of seeds to have the widest possible selection of genotypes and phenotypes.

From these seeds, most breeders choose the most stable varieties, which they find most appealing in appearance, growth, smell and taste (in female plants). Accurate laboratory tests of canabinoids, terpenes and microorganisms help today’s breeders to select their strongest phenotypes, which are then pollinated with their selected males. A new gene pool (F1) is created. The breeder could now create an F2 generation by reselecting the seeds or work on a backcross, which can be developed with the same (already selected) male.

See also: What does F1, S1, BX1 & IBL stand for?

Some breeders prefer to feminize their favorite phenotypes. This usually involves the use of chemicals such as STS (Silver Thiosulfate) or others. To perform these processes, the Female Plant is “Reserved”, i.e. sprayed with STS to stop the female hormones within the plant so that it develops male traits like pollen sacs which in turn are used for pollination to produce the feminized seeds (S1).

See also: Differences between Regular, Feminized and Automatic Seeds

As you can see, this topic gets lost very quickly in various sub-themes and possibilities. To go into each of them in more detail you need several blogs. We hope that this little insight could help you so far.

Genotype vs. Phenotype – What’s the difference?

Genotype and phenotype are terms used in genetics and refer to the characteristics of plants. [...]

What does F1, S1, BX1 & IBL stand for?

“F1”, “IBL”, “BX” and “S1” are terms used in cannabis breeding to describe different generations [...]

Differences between Regular, Feminized and Automatic Seeds

Regular, feminized and automatic seeds differ in terms of their use and purpose in growing [...]

Genotype vs. Phenotype – What’s the difference?

Genotype and phenotype are terms used in genetics and refer to the characteristics of plants.

Genotype refers to all the genetic information of a plant stored in its chromosomes. This includes both visible traits (e.g. color of flowers or shape of leaves) and invisible traits (e.g. susceptibility to certain diseases).

Phenotype refers to the visible and measurable characteristics of a plant that are determined by the interaction of genotype and environmental conditions. For example, a plant’s height can be affected by its genotype, as well as the amount of light and nutrients it receives.

It is important to note that a plant’s phenotype does not necessarily reflect its genotype. For example, a plant may have a specific gene for blue flowers, but if it grows in an environment with low light, it may still produce pink flowers. Therefore, it is possible for two plants to have the same genotype but have different phenotypes.

Simplified example:

Banana Joe x Critical Kush = Banana Crush

These two parents gave the variety “Banana Crush” a unique DNA.

If 12 seeds of this genotype (Banana Crush) are planted, each plant will have its own characteristics. These characteristics make up the phenotype of each plant. Growth, appearance, smell and taste are only a few examples.

Each of the 12 seed plants will taste slightly different but will be very similar at best (this depends on the generation of the genotype variety and how stable it is).

  • Pheno #1 – Could have very Sativa heavy leaves
  • Pheno #2 – Has more hybrid heavy duty blades with high resin content
  • Pheno #3 – Characterized by its compact growth
  • Pheno #4 – Grows fast with many strong side branches
  • Pheno #5 – …
  • etc.

The individual phenotypes could be distinguished from which the respective breeder can then choose his favorite, which is most appealing to him.

If you want to learn more about this topic, we recommend you to have a look at Mendel’s inheritance of traits.

We hunt terpenes: effects, interactions, flavors.

When grandma used to come back from her heath walks with fresh limes from the [...]

THC, CBD, CBG & CBN: The best-known cannabinoids at a glance

The ingredients of the cannabis plant have fascinated us humans for over 5000 years. Even [...]

Differences between Regular, Feminized and Automatic Seeds

Regular, feminized and automatic seeds differ in terms of their use and purpose in growing [...]