Creating new plant breeds

Creating new varieties of plants improved yields, higher quality or better resistance to pests and diseases increase quality and productivity in agriculture. This manipulation involves either controlled pollination, genetic engineering, or both, followed by artificial selection of progeny.

In plant breeding an increased phenotypic variability is tried to be achieved through recombination of genomes, traditionally in particular via crossing of different phenotypes, or more recently through more directed changes at molecular level resulting from advances in molecular biology. After this step of creating genetic variability, it is necessary to select those phenotypes which display the desired traits.

The goals of plant breeding are to produce crop varieties that boast unique and superior traits for a variety of agricultural applications. The most frequently addressed traits are those related to biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, grain or biomass yield, end-use quality characteristics such as taste or the concentrations of specific biological molecules (proteins, sugars, lipids, vitamins, fibers) and ease of processing (harvesting, milling, baking, malting, blending, etc.).

The specific goal of a plant breeding project is highly dependent upon the market for which the product is intended. In wheat, for example, varieties bred to produce high levels of gluten protein are used to produce noodles and breads, whereas varieties specifically selected for low protein grains are used in the production of pastry flours. The varieties of grapes developed for various applications such as juices, red and white wines, and jams, vary considerably in chemical composition.

Plant breeding in cannabis

Cannabis is an interesting topic as there is no other plant on the planet that has this many man made engineered strains. With so many people breeding their own cannabis strains will allow you to save money, because some marijuana seeds can cost up to £200 or more for pack of 10. It will also allow you to avoid any potential issues with ordering, shipping and security risks when buying the seeds online. If you create a lot of your own seeds they can sell them and furthermore creating your own cannabis strains allows you to have the traits that you like, a far as taste, smell, or medical effect.

To understand the principles behind the breeding of cannabis you first need to be familiar with some basic terms related to genetics. “Genotype” is the genetic and chromosomal make-up of any given individual – it is the genetic code. “Phenotype” is the expression of body type, structure, and appearance of the plant; it results from the interaction between genotype and environment.

In terms of growing and breeding cannabis, there is a distinct difference between indoor and outdoor grow environments. No matter where on the planet one is, the indoor environment is usually far more limited when compared to the spectrum of conditions existing outdoors.

When compared to the wide variety of conditions available outdoors, the indoor environment may be seen as relatively bland and generic. The greenhouse environment, especially when fortified with electric light, is perhaps the closest thing available to a happy marriage there are three separate subspecies of the genus Cannabis – Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Cannabis Sativa is the equatorial variety found primarily around 30 degrees latitude North or South. Sativa generally grow tall, from seven to thirty feet, have many long branches, narrower leaflets, and mature slowly.

Cannabis Indica varieties generally inhabit the areas between 30-50 degrees North or South latitude. Indica are generally much shorter than Sativa, only about three to five feet tall. They have fewer and shorter branches than Sativa, the longer of which are lower on the plant, with much wider leaflets. They also mature earlier and more rapidly than Sativa.

Cannabis Ruderalis grow naturally primarily past 50 degrees north latitude (the Siberian steppes). Ruderalis are the shortest, least bushy, and fastest maturing of the three.

To begin the breeding process, the breeder sets his goal, that is, the ‘ideal plant’ he wants to obtain, which he uses to select the parents — plants which resemble the ideal he is after as closely as possible.

Once he has selected the parental plants according to the desirable traits, he crosses them to obtain the first generation (F1).

He assesses the individuals of the F1 and selects the ones that most closely resemble the target plant. 4. The F1 individuals that exhibit the desirable characteristic are either inbred (crossed between them) or backcrossed (crossed with the parents), according to the specific goal.

The offspring of the F1, the second generation or F2, is assessed and the individuals with desirable traits are selected and crossed into the F3. The resulting third generation is normally a stable population, although in some cases — with autoflowering strains, for instance — a fourth generation may be necessary to ensure stability.


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