Originally Posted by rizraz
Man Sam I was just linked to this thread and I've got say I have the exact same concerns you do. Thank you for adding a voice of concerned interest in these projects from OCBD. Maybe everything is on the up and up but man, an entire catalog of sterile Triploid cultivars impervious to all pollen just doesn't sit well with me. My hope is I'm wrong and we'll never hear anything shady about OCBD but I'd be remiss if I didn't express some concerns and I appreciate your logical skepticism. Hopefully with time either grow reports, phylos testing or further explanations from OCBD will help illuminate the puzzle pieces I'm missing. Interesting project for sure, I'll be follow this whole development closely.
Rest assured that diploid plants are not going away--ever--and that is not one of our goals. Pollen-proof cannabinoid production enables the peaceful coexistence fiber / grain production in areas most hospitable to cannabis production, while also benefitting from "gene stacking" via copy number increase of key genes of agronomic importance (disease resistance, secondary metabolite production, flower timing, etc.). While it's a certainly a big deal, it is not novel; genome doubling is the underlying tool used to make many of our most important crops "more fit" for agriculture.
I chuckled a bit at the mention of using Phylos to verify. A flow cytometer and seedlings is all you need for that. The ploidy of our seed will be independently verified in this way by Oregon State University's Seed Testing Laboratory as part of a standard germination trial.
I am not sure what's up with Phylos at the moment, as they have made no public statements in over a year and Mowgli Holmes has been demoted from CEO to a "strategic advisor". I do know, however, that their SNP-based "galaxy" is a really rudimentary comparison tool and has little to no application in ploidy verification. Their test accounts for ~2000 SNPs. There are many different competing genomics companies offering their own tests, ranging from 15K to 90K SNPS (the latter, Eurofins/Medicinal Genomics, was validated using one of our breeding populations as part of a collaboration with us). We are currently under contract with and testing other SNP platforms with Lighthouse Genomics (Canada) and NRGene (Israel) for novel trait detection.
SNP studies + phenotype data + chemotype data yield markers we can use to accelerate the breeding process for specific traits; however, whole genome data is also necessary to truly understand what is going on "under the hood" and to validate the usefulness of those candidate markers in other populations. We generate all that in house, utilizing PacBio's Sequel II HiFi sequencing and Bionano's optical sequencing to generate WGS for analysis. We have one of the largest--if not the largest--collections of WGS cannabis data in the world, all derived from our breeding projects. In addition to marker validation, these are being fed into a cannabis pangenome comparison tool to identify important structural variants, rates of translocation, and other areas of interest to our breeding team.
The same thing is going on in other crops right now because of the rapid evolution of sequencing technology; we got lucky that these tools became available at the same time "hemp" was legalized in the US. The rate of discovery is mind-blowing to say the least, which makes this thread such a fun piece of US cannabis history...you can see where we started and how it rapidly evolved.