When ordering cannabis strains, growers expect their weed to have specific properties. Professional breeders such as our own are responsible for developing strains with consistent and reliable characteristics. But what are stable cannabis strains and how are they made? Find out below.
What Are Stable Cannabis Strains?
Stability in cannabis roughly means that stable strains show high degrees of uniformity and predictability. Variation between individual plant characteristics is minimal. Basically, stable cannabis strains are more easy to predict in terms of their future traits, even when they’re only just seeds.
Unstable strains are harder to anticipate in terms of their properties. In the jargon of genetics, these properties or traits are called a plant’s phenotype. Phenotype encompasses all the perceivable characteristics of an organism. For cannabis, these include taste, scent, the high of a specific strain, and the size of the plant and its leaves, for instance. Phenotype is the sum total of genetic expression. It is the consequence of an individual’s genetic makeup (genotype) and the effect of the environment on those genes.
For commercial cannabis seed banks, genetically stable strains are a necessity. Obviously, their customers want to order seeds that yield the same results every grow. If you order Amnesia Haze seeds, for instance, you expect to raise plants with typical haze properties. Genetically stable cannabis strains are difficult to cultivate. The process takes years of hard labour.
How Do You Get Stable Cannabis Strains?
Breeders developing new strains take their time to get what they want. The specific properties they are after will have to be stabilised in order to make sure they keep returning in new generations. First, a breeder selects a string and healthy mother and father plant. Mother plants are carefully selected for the traits sought by the breeder, which ideally should resurface in the strain they are trying to develop.
Cuttings of the plant are turned into clones. These are by definition genetically identical to each other and to the mother plant. The clones are then crossbred with a stable male plant that is genetically unrelated while also displaying some of the desired properties in its phenotype.
F1 & F2 Generations
The offspring of such crossings are called the F1 generation. Some F1 specimens will display the parent plant traits breeders are after, while others do not. Such hybrid offspring have varying predictability, depending on how stable the parent genetics are. If the mother and father plants are from stable cannabis strains, their F1 offspring are likely to inherit at least some of the desired traits.
Generally speaking, breeders will try to get as many F1 individuals as they can. This creates a large stock of young plants with varied genetics. Once these plants mature, the individuals with the largest number of desired traits are selected for another round of crossbreeding to produce the F2 generation.
This second crossbreeding round exponentially increases the number of new genetic combinations. And since the F1 generation had lower genetic stability than the parent plants, the F2 generation will be even less stable. This is why breeders need to invest a lot of time and effort into selecting and crossbreeding the right plants, working across multiple generations. It usually takes five or six generations to get some initial results; and reliable stability without mutation will easily take twelve generations to achieve.
Speeding Up The Process
Breeders have a few tricks up their sleeves to speed things up a bit, however. One of their most important tools is the back-crossing technique, in which new-generation plants are crossbred with individuals from previous generations. An F1 individual could be back-crossed with its mother plant, for example. This is likely to produce offspring that resemble the mother plant’s genetics more closely, including her genetic stability. Back-crossing is a clever way of accelerating the integration of favourable parent traits in a cannabis breeding line.
The Benefits Of Stable Cannabis Strains
So what are the benefits of this cannabis breeding technique? Ultimately, cannabis breeders aim for the level of genetic stability that rules out unwanted mutations. They want to see certain plant traits return in next generations in the most reliable way possible. If you like to grow Kosher Choco Kush seeds, for instance, you’ll want your buds to have their characteristic scent and flavour of earthy chocolate tones. And if you choose to grow Chunky Cookies, you’ll expect a lovely effect of euphoric and relaxed sensations. If that doesn’t happen, the breeder has failed to live up to consumer expectations.
Genetic stability allows for consistent presence of desirable cannabis traits in strains across the generations. The sought-after traits can become dominant, making their continued presence even more likely. Undesirable traits can be bred out of strain genotypes over time.
This is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process: a true labour of love that uses the latest in cutting-edge genetics technology. All that hard work is rewarded, though, once it produces the unique strains and traits the breeder sought. Growers and consumers will love the new options this provides.
Developing stable new cannabis strains produces reliable genetics with higher THC, CBG, or CBD percentages, specific terpenes, unusual colours, or improved pest resistance, for example. This constant quest for innovation makes finding the next stable cannabis strains worth the effort.
Trust The Stable Strains Of Amsterdam Genetics
So now you’re probably wondering just how Amsterdam Genetics manage to come up with all those wonderfully stable cannabis strains. Well, hard work and thorough research are part of the answer. Of course, the exact development of every unique strain is our best-kept secret. Ultimately, all growers and breeders have their own tricks of the trade, and that’s how it should be. After all, you don’t really need to know exactly how we breed our unique genetics here in Amsterdam. As long as we make sure you get the seeds, grows, and buds that you want, all of our hard work has not been in vain!