Genetic selection and breeding techniques play a major role in producing Cannabis strains with specific characteristics, such as medicinal properties and chemical profiles. And, one other approach that growers involve in the Cannabis propagation process to obtain desired plants in tissue culture.
Genetic selection is simply choosing plants with desirable traits, such as regulated concentrations of THC and CBD and specific terpene profiles, associated with certain medical effects. The obtained plants are used as a mother plant of the new Cannabis variety.
Traditional breeding approaches, such as backcrossing and hybridization, are commonly used today to produce cannabis plants with desired characteristics. Hybridization involves choosing two plants with desired characteristics and crossing them to obtain a hybrid strain inheriting the desired traits from both plants.
Whereas, backcrossing a hybrid plant with its parent plants. It’s done to produce genetically similar to the parent, but with improved traits inherited from the hybrid.
The tissue culture technique is the advanced approach to plant propagation. It involves taking a small piece of plant tissue or cells and introducing them to a suitable nutrient media in a controlled lab environment. The technique enables growers to produce disease-free plants at a commercial scale.
In this article, we will further explore into following topics:
- Why identifying and characterizing elite cannabis cultivars with desirable traits is important?
- How can tissue culture help to achieve high-quality cannabis?
- How tissue culture in combination with genetic engineering (however, its application is a bit controversial) and omic analysis can help to produce “Premium” Cannabis varieties.
- How can plant cell technology help you learn the most-advanced propagation technique to create and preserve your “Elite” Cannabis varieties?
Why Identifying And Characterizing Elite Cannabis Cultivars With Desirable Traits Is Important?
There’re several ways in which elite varieties can benefit you with your Cannabis business:
- Increase Profitability: Elite cannabis cultivars with desirable traits are highly sought after in the medical and recreational cannabis markets. Patients and consumers are looking for specific chemical profiles that produce the desired therapeutic effects. Therefore, cultivars with high levels of THC or CBD, or specific terpene profiles, can fetch premium prices and increase profitability for cultivators.
- Standardize the quality and consistency of Cannabis products: By identifying and characterizing cultivars with specific chemical profiles, cultivators can produce consistent products with predictable effects. This is important for medical cannabis patients who rely on consistent dosing for their treatments.
- Advance the understanding of the complex nature of Cannabis: By studying the chemical profiles of different cultivars, researchers can gain insights into the therapeutic and medicinal properties of different cannabinoids and terpenes, and potentially develop new treatments for a range of medical conditions.
How Can Tissue Culture Help To Achieve High-Quality Cannabis?
Tissue culture is a technique with useful and a spectrum of applications. It offers you many advantages including
- Produce genetically identical plants: Micropropagation allows for the rapid multiplication of genetically identical plants, which can be used to produce large quantities of uniform, high-quality cannabis plants with desirable traits.
- Preserve and Propagate Elite Cannabis Varieties: It is possible to preserve and propagate highly specialized cannabis cultivars using micropropagation. With the help of a small piece of tissue from a high-quality plant, cultivators can produce a large number of genetically identical plants that possess the same desirable characteristics as their parent plants. As a result, the chemical composition of the plant and its therapeutic properties remain intact.
- Reduce Contamination: During micropropagation, cannabis plants are produced in a sterile environment, reducing the risk of contamination by pests, diseases, or other contaminants. By doing so, the plants can produce more yields and produce better quality while reducing the need for pesticides and other chemicals.
- Propagation of difficult-to-grow cultivars: Micropropagation can propagate difficult-to-grow cultivars that are slow-growing or have poor rooting ability. This can help in the production of rare or endangered cannabis cultivars.
In addition to producing a uniform and genetically identical Cannabis plants with specific traits for pharma and nutraceutical purposes, tissue culture can be used to study the biochemical pathways and genetic regulation of cannabis plant development. This can help produce Cannabis cultivars with specific secondary metabolite profiles or other traits for therapeutic and medical purposes.
How Tissue Culture Can Help Produce Premium Cannabis Varieties With Genetic Engineering (Though its Application is Controversial) and Omic Analysis
Combining tissue culture with genetic engineering and omic analysis is a powerful approach to producing elite Cannabis varieties. It involves producing tissue culture plants and then subjecting them to genetic engineering and omics analysis for desired traits.
The omic analysis involves comprehensive approaches to analyzing humans' and other organisms' complete genetic and molecular profiles.
One common and widely known genetic engineering tool is CRISPR-Cas9, which allows for targeted gene editing and manipulation. Using the technique researchers can introduce or remove specific genes associated with desirable traits, such as increased yield or unique cannabinoid profiles, to create new cannabis varieties with improved characteristics.
It is also possible to identify and characterize genes and pathways associated with desired traits using genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics in combination with tissue culture. This can help researchers to better understand the genetic basis of these traits and to develop more efficient breeding strategies.
After desired traits are identified using omics analysis, the selected plant materials are grown using tissue culture under controlled conditions to optimize the expression of desired traits and to produce consistent, high-quality cannabis products.
Once desired traits have been identified using omics analyses, tissue culture can be used to propagate the selected plant material and create large numbers of genetically identical plants. These plants can then be grown
The cannabis industry may benefit from this combined approach by improving productivity, accelerating breeding programs, and creating new product development opportunities.
It is important to note, however, that genetically engineering cannabis remains a controversial topic and that regulatory frameworks governing the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture differ widely.
Ethical And Social Issues Are There About Using Genetic Engineering In Cannabis Plant
Tissue culture and genetic engineering have great potential for producing elite cannabis varieties, but they also have ethical and social implications. It includes:
- Safety: Genetically engineered cannabis plants may pose risks to human health and the environment. Concerns include the potential for unintended effects on non-target organisms, the development of new allergens or toxins, and the possibility of unintended gene transfer to other crops or wild relatives.
- Regulation: The regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) varies widely around the world, with some countries imposing strict regulations while others have more relaxed policies. The use of genetic engineering in cannabis may raise questions about the appropriate regulatory frameworks to ensure safety and minimize potential risks.
- Access: Genetic engineering may give some cannabis companies an advantage over others in terms of developing elite strains with desirable traits, which could lead to a concentration of power and wealth within the industry. This could also limit access to these new strains for small-scale growers and breeders.
- Consumer acceptance: Some consumers may be skeptical or resistant to the idea of genetically modified cannabis, which could impact the marketability of these products. There may also be concerns about the potential effects of consuming genetically modified cannabis on human health and well-being.
Creating and Preserving Your "Elite" Cannabis Varieties Through Plant Cell Technology?
Plant Cell Technology is a leading company in the area of plant tissue culture. We conduct comprehensive tissue culture master classes led by industry experts with 10-30 years of experience.
The classes are designed to teach you everything about tissue culture, ranging from its basic introduction to pro techniques such as synthetic seed production (which can help you preserve your precious strain) and meristem culture (which enable you to produce disease-free plants). A range of other topics that will be covered during the class includes Pathogen remediation, sterilization techniques, synthetic seed technology, and many more.
Our upcoming master class will be a 3-days class starting from April 20-22, 2023. It will be conducted by one of the legends in the Cannabis Tissue Culture Industry, Bill Graham.
The bookings for the class have already been started. And, for one-on-experience with our tissue culture expert, only a limited number of seats are available.
So, if you are interested in giving a boost to your Cannabis business, then book your seats TODAY!