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Basic Genetics Terminology For Cannabis

Our beloved marijuana strains are produced using several different breeding methods. Check out the terminology used to describe the unique genetics of different cannabis varieties.

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Breeding cannabis is a complicated art that can be performed in plenty of ways. Here, we describe the common terms surrounding various cannabis genetics and how they came to be. We decided to keep it short and concise, as all the scientific minutiae can be very complex.

LANDRACE

Landrace varieties originate from regions where cannabis plants have been growing for a very long time in the wild—centuries, or even millennia. This naturally creates stable, robust genetics that produce a homogeneous offspring. This means that the landrace strains from a particular area will develop very similar growth patterns, appearance, and chemical composition. Hindu Kush or China Yunnan are examples of pure landrace strains.

F1 stands for a “first generation hybrid”. When two strains with completely different genotypes breed, for example, a Master Kush with Durban Poison, their offspring will be an F1 hybrid. When this hybrid is bred together with another F1 hybrid from the same batch (a sister or a brother), it creates an F2 hybrid. When this process is repeated, it creates an F3, then F4, and so on. After F5, the plants can be considered as IBL.

IBL stands for “inbred line”, meaning that after several generations of hybridising a specific lineage, the strains become almost like a different family of strains. Skunks were hybridised and selected for their very pungent and potent nature, and after many generations, they developed into the Cheese family, which can be called an IBL.

POLY-HYBRIDS

Poly-hybrids derive from mixing completely different hybrids with each other. For example, Master Kush and Durban Poison produce offspring called F1(A); AK-47 and White Widow produce an offspring called F1(B). When F1(A) and F1(B) have a lovechild, it will be coined as a poly-hybrid.

BACKCROSSES

Backcrossing refers to taking a hybrid strain and breeding it back with the original parent. For example, a male Chocolope and a female Jack Herer develop an F1 hybrid. When this F1 hybrid is hybridised with the original female Jack Herer, the resulting strain will be coined as BX1. When this BX1 gets backcrossed again with the original female Jack Herer, it will be coined as BX2, and so on. The genetics of the original female strain can be retained by keeping the plant in the vegetative stage as a mother, keeping the cuttings as clones or using tissue culture propagation.

SELFING

Selfing is when a mother plant is pollinated by herself. Breeders use special chemicals on female plants to induce stress, which results in the plants producing male flowers, which produce pollen. When this pollen in used on the female flowers of the same plant or a clone from the same mother, the resulting seeds will be “selfed” or coined as S1. When the S1 seeds are backcrossed with the original parent, they’re called S2, S3, and so on. Breeders often do this to preserve the genetics of the strain, and to feminize the seeds.

Cannabis genetics are not all the same. We are here to clear up any confusion surrounding breeding terminology, from landraces to IBL.

Cannabis seeds genetics

Cannabis Seeds made from selective breeding.

The primary method through which cannabis plants reproduce is by cross pollination which allows seed production. Cannabis seeds are a natural product of the cannabis plant allowing the offspring to carry characteristics from both parents.

Whilst there are a growing number of dangerously amateur seed suppliers, there remain a number of high quality seed suppliers who today offer an array of good quality stable strains.

Cannabis, just like other plants, can be bred to favour certain characteristics by selectively choosing and crossing offspring with the desired features. The ability to do this professionally is generally something best left to the experts who have decades of experience in the art. The bulk of those that buy cannabis seeds today are private individuals looking to grow their own personal stash for recreational or medical use. At Dutch Passion everything we do is geared towards providing those growers with the best possible cannabis seeds. We were one of the first seedbanks to be formed in the 1980’s, though our roots and our seedbank genetics go back to the early seventies.

Creating outstanding cannabis seeds is a craft that combines natural selection with scientific assistance. The finest cannabis seeds are produced by design rather than by accident. Often we will work on a specific project with an end-goal, the creation of a fast maturing Haze (Dutch Haze) was one such recent example from Dutch Passion. At other times the breeders will grow plants from our research gene pool looking for exceptional individuals. Often hundreds of plants are grown from seed with the goal of finding just one with genuinely special properties.

Creating and stabilising our own F1 cannabis seeds.

Nowadays this is a high-tech business using laboratories that measure precise levels of THC and other cannabinoids, allowing us to produce strains exactly the way our customers want them. Identifying exceptional plants is only the start of the process. Much of the work to produce great cannabis seeds is done to ensure as much stability as possible in the resulting plants. Dutch Passion place top priority on creating and stabilising our own F1 cannabis seeds. ‘Copycat’ seedbanks often take these F1 (first generation) seeds to produce and sell F2 (second generation) seeds. But the F2 seeds confer, in our opinion, too much variation.

Producing cannabis seeds with stabilised top quality features often takes years of effort. Many of our customers grow just a few plants each year for their own use, they choose Dutch Passion not because we are the cheapest cannabis seed supplier but because we offer the most stable versions of the best cannabis strains on the market. Why cut corners to save a few euro’s on a seed? Join the thousands that trust Dutch Passion and grow some of the best cannabis strains known to man.

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Cannabis seeds genetics Cannabis Seeds made from selective breeding. The primary method through which cannabis plants reproduce is by cross pollination which allows seed production.