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News: Canadian Study Provides New Look At Genetic Markers For Cannabis Breeding.

Published 12:18 AM EST, Tue April 23, 2024

Researchers in Canada have released the results of a new study on the development of molecular tools for cannabis breeders and researchers. The goal of the research is to help develop tools to more easily identify specific genetic traits in cannabis sought by breeders, such as selecting traits for specific cannabinoid ratios for medical or non-medical applications. 


 


 

Researchers in Canada have unveiled new findings in the realm of cannabis breeding, emphasizing the development of molecular tools to aid breeders in identifying specific genetic traits. The study focused on genome-wide association studies conducted on 176 drug-type cannabis samples, revealing high-value markers linked to crucial agronomic and morphological traits. Key productivity-related traits identified include fresh biomass, dried flower weight, sexual maturity, harvest maturity, stem diameter, canopy diameter, height, internode length index, and node counts. These traits exhibited significant variability among samples, underscoring the potential for selecting desired traits for various applications.


One of the main challenges highlighted in the research is the limited genetic diversity within the cannabis gene pool, a consequence of historical prohibition and the commercial market's specific demands. This restriction complicates the identification of genetic variations, which is crucial for breeding purposes. Despite this, cannabis continues to display a remarkable level of phenotypic variation. The study points out that while hemp-type and drug-type cannabis varieties share some common features, their genetic differences necessitate precise identification of desirable traits for breeding.


The findings from this study promise to enhance cannabis breeding programs by providing a robust catalogue of high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture the genomic diversity of drug-type cannabis. These molecular markers, distributed across different chromosomes, are linked with complex agronomic and morphological traits, facilitating precision breeding. The research underscores the need for continued collaboration between researchers and the cannabis industry to translate this genetic knowledge into practical breeding strategies, advancing the field and meeting the diverse needs of emerging industries.


This research addresses the core challenges faced by breeders in developing new cannabis strains with specific traits. The ability to efficiently identify genetic markers linked to desired traits can revolutionize breeding programs, enabling the creation of strains tailored for medical, recreational, and industrial applications. This breakthrough not only enhances the quality and diversity of cannabis products available to consumers but also supports the industry's growth by fostering innovation and sustainability. The ongoing collaboration between researchers and industry stakeholders will be vital in harnessing these findings to drive the future of cannabis breeding.


Source: Stratcann

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