Weed From Seed: Understanding F1 Hybrids

Weed From Seed: Understanding F1 Hybrids

Breeding is an interesting subject to study because it is the backbone of commercial agriculture and critical to the success of farmers' crops. Without stable and active genetics, farmers can have major problems with their crops, leading to significant income losses. Because the cannabis industry has existed in the shadows for too long, breeding has been largely relegated to closets and amateur “pollen chuckers,” with people using random plants in hopes of getting their hands on something new and desirable. I was breeding plants. This is where the term phenohunting comes from. Crossing heterozygous parent lines creates diversity in the genetics, and therefore the phenotype, of the offspring. As a result, the offspring may be mutants that express recessive genes or plants with genetic mutations. While this may be desirable if you are looking for something unique or new, these plants may inherit undesirable traits such as hermaphroditism or be more susceptible to disease or pathogens. There is also gender.

Since breeding and cultivating cannabis has long been illegal, another problem faced by growers was the threat of having their plants and seeds confiscated in raids. Many breeders in Amsterdam and around the world are facing this problem, resulting in rare genes being lost. The threat of their growth being discovered also meant that it was difficult to run long-term breeding programs, as they did not know how long they would remain in the same location.

This is one reason true F1 hybrids remain rare among seed companies. It is always possible to find a strain that is naturally homozygous (he has two identical forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent), and when grown from seed, the population It has a certain degree of uniformity. Still, homogeneity rarely exceeded 92%.

These days, the term F1 hybrid has become the new marketing tagline for cannabis seed companies. Often seed companies will advertise that they have a genuine F1 breed, but the process of stabilizing a parent breed into a true stallion takes years. It also helps to have a laboratory that can analyze some of the plant's genetics through DNA sequencing systems. This is because it is the only way to know for sure the amount of homozygosity in a plant.

The first recorded example of an F1 hybrid was observed in the 19th century by an Augustinian monk named Gregor Mendel. The “F” stands for filial, meaning “first child,” and in this early example of variety breeding, Mendel used two different lines of green pea plants and cross-pollinated them to create a new F1 hybrid. I created a pea strain. The new strain he created was heterozygous and therefore expressed a different gene than the parent. This happened because the parent seeds were pure (“inbred”) breeding lines or homozygous. This means that the parent seeds had a set of genetically uniform traits that were passed on to offspring crosses.

In the case of cannabis, this could be one parent with a predominant gaseous terpene profile and the other parent with a predominant purple color. Knowing which traits are dominant in the parents allows breeders to predict what offspring crosses will be like and breed with purpose. In the example above, the new cross incorporates the dominant parts of the parents and produces gaseous, purple offspring. This combination of genes creates a new cross-heterozygosity, conferring heterosis or hybrid vigor. Additionally, by starting with stable inbred parent lines (strains brought back to themselves, known as inbred lines, backcrosses, or selfing), new crosses will have a high degree of uniformity. Even if the new cross is a genetic combination of both parents, the population will have inherited the same traits for all generations.

The key to growing from seed is to grow uniform, stable, vigorous plants. This is why true F1 hybrid seeds are a game changer for cannabis growers, allowing you to start your cultivation from seed, resulting in higher yields and stronger plants than regular cloning. Cannabis is one of the few industries that exclusively uses clones in commercial cultivation. Almost all other agricultural sectors use seeds as a starting material due to the vigor and strength of F1 hybrids.

humboldt seed company is one of the few companies working to develop F1 hybrids in collaboration with laboratories that provide the ability to run plants using gene sequencers. This allows us to know the degree of zygosity of the parent plants and accurately predict the outcome of selective crosses. The key to their breeding program is working with stable inbred parental lines. This means there is the possibility of home producing the parent plant up to her 6th or 7th generation, ensuring that the parents are as homozygous as possible. In this way, you have predictable parents and can create predictable offspring that exhibit the most dominant combination of traits of the parents. For example, if you buy a pack of his OG seeds from Humboldt His Seeds His Company, you'll get a uniform set of plants that smell like gas and have a similar growth structure. The Blueberry Muffin strain is similar, producing plants that consistently smell like blueberries. .

As the industry matures, more seed companies will likely seek to stabilize their stock of mother and father plants to produce more F1. This is also a great benefit for growers as they can eventually join the farming community by growing crops using seeds. This allows the gardener to see more durable plants, increase yields, and also provides an opportunity to reduce costs, since with the same area of ​​cultivation he may be able to produce 20-30% more flowers. Masu. Ideally, the cost savings would be passed on to the consumer, providing higher quality flowers at a slightly lower price. The emergence of true F1 hybrids in cannabis is a positive new step for an industry that has existed in the shadow of illegality for many years.

This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of High Times Magazine.

Chris M.

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