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Triploid Genetics in Hemp Flowers?

Cross-pollination destroys a cannabis or hemp crop rapidly. Biomass farmers find they lose 50 percent of usable material and their average cannabinoid content decreases by 30 percent when crop pollination occurs. Farmers in the trimmed flower business suffer a total loss if pollination takes place. To prevent pollination from ruining crops, scientists at Oregon CBD recently introduced seedless cannabis varieties known as non-GMO triploid cannabis varieties. Advanced ploidy screening makes these sterile male plants possible.

Today, hemp flowers benefit from triploid genetics, so growers no longer need to worry about cross-pollination. This allows growers to plant different strains next to each other without worry of problems developing because of pollination. Individuals living in states where cannabis products remain prohibited benefit from this innovation, as they can get CBD products with ease and remain within the law. Hemp production can increase thanks to triploid genetics, allowing for more products to make it to the market.

Hemp Breeding Programs

Hemp breeding programs continue to make advancements. Triploid hemp plants allow for 20 to 40 percent more production and vigor when compared to their diploid siblings. Standard cannabis plants grown in the wild are diploid plants. They get a set of chromosomes from each parent. In rare situations, spontaneous mutations occur. These mutations lead to the diploid genomes doubling, bringing about tetraploid plants. Scientists have been able to reproduce this natural phenomenon in the lab and use this to create triploids.

What are the benefits of triploids? How are triploids created? What led to the process that creates the triploids? These questions and more are queries hemp breeders and anyone interested in this topic may ask.

What are Triploids?

Triploids serve as sterile hemp plants. They don’t get the seed and therefore cannot be impregnated by pollen. This allows growers to plant whatever they want in the space they have without worry that cross-pollination will destroy their crop. Furthermore, the triploid plants produce at a higher rate. They save the buds and produce fewer leaves and flowers. As a result, growers find they increase the number of sellable products they harvest.

Furthermore, the triploid plants contain no seeds. When manufacturers use plants with seeds, it negatively affects the finished product. In the past, consumers found they had to accept a substandard finished product because nothing else was available. That’s no longer the case. With male sterile plants, producers eliminate the need to deal with seeds and find the flower mass of the plants increases by 30 percent.

How Did Scientists Accomplish This?

Brendan Rojas and Dr. Hsuan Chen serve as research plant breeders at Oregon CBD, a company also responsible for innovative strains with CBG. They conducted experiments using diploid cannabis tissue to see where they could make changes with the breeding process. They treated this tissue with compounds shown to inhibit cell division. The process they used is like rare, naturally occurring tetraploid-inducing events, but allows these events to take place more consistently.

Once they treated the plants, the researchers screened them using a flow cytometer. This device measures the plant genome’s physical size, and the researchers could then compare the size of the treated plants to those of the plant’s diploid counterparts. They wish to see if the genome size doubled and found that it did. The treated plants served as an identical version of the mother, but doubled. Each plant had four sets of homologous chromosomes. To ensure future generations didn’t revert to the diploid state, the scientists repeated the screening process multiple times.

The team at Oregon CBD isn’t the only group researching the plants. Mansouri and Bagheri in 2017 and Parsons in 2019 looked at tetraploid cannabis plants and got similar results. They found the plants underwent distinct morphological changes while consuming more nutrients. However, the chemical composition remained the same in terms of the ratios and total amounts produced. They found the aromatic compounds increased significantly. Nevertheless, tetraploids provide very little in terms of performance increases, other than in the olfactory area. However, the process used has led to advances in hemp and cannabis breeding along with breeding processes used for many other crops.

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Triploids and Hemp Production

If tetraploids offer few benefits other than in terms of the aroma, why are many people declaring a breakthrough in hemp farming? The creation of triploids offers major benefits for those in this industry. Farmers find that crossing tetraploids with diploids results in seeds with two sets of chromosomes from the tetraploid and one copy from the diploid. This improves many crops and hemp is no exception.

Farmers find the plants created from crossing the tetraploid with the diploid leads to plants that have no seeds, ones that are ideal for essential oil production, and plants with increased biomass. These ploidy improvements will change the way hemp breeders operate in the future.

Identifying Triploids

Scientists and growers find they can identify diploids, tetraploids, triploids, and more with the help of a decent microscope. They examine the size and shape of the stomata to do so. For instance, tetraploids feature stomata that are bigger yet not as round. In fact, the easiest way to identify a tetraploid appears to be by looking at the shape of the stomata. This becomes of great help to those who wish to breed hemp.

The Benefits of Triploids

Triploids offer many benefits. Growers needn’t worry about flowers being seeded by rogue pollen or nearby plants. Male plants no longer need to be removed from the crop to prevent pollination, and triploids come with more terpenes. Growers see a 30 to 50 percent increase in the terpene content, along with additional olfactory compounds.

Triploid plants remain hyper-efficient thanks to the greater copy number of key genes. With these plants, growers see a boost in the amount of high-value propyl cannabinoids. In addition, they come in autoflower varieties, which growers are certain to appreciate.

Triploid genetics is the future. Hemp growers and breeders remain very excited about this advancement. However, consumers won’t be able to benefit from it yet. They are new for the 2021 growing season. As a result, the smokable flower lineup won’t be available until the end of the year. This gives people something to look forward to in the coming months. They will be here before you know it.

 

https://www.sunnylandkansas.com/post/tips-for-sourcing-feminized-hemp-seeds-cbd-cbg

https://therealdirt.com/episodes/the-science-breeding-triploid-cannabis/

https://www.shapingfire.com/podcast-feed/episode-66-cannabis-triploid-genetics-sterile-and-thriving-with-guest-seth-crawford

https://cbweed.com/en/what-is-cannabis-polyploidy-the-future-of-genetic-selection/

https://growersnetwork.org/cultivation/improving-yields-via-genetics/#3

 

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