NRGene and Kayagene signed an agreement that grants NRGene a world-wide, exclusive license to commercialize the Cannabis autoflower trait and DNA markers linked to it. Utilizing NRGene’s proprietary genomic tools and Kayagene’s proprietary germplasm and breeding knowledge the two companies recently identified the markers associated with the trait. The DNA markers will enable breeders to develop elite autoflower varieties quicker and more efficiently than before.
NRGene will offer to license the autoflower trait and linked DNA markers to breeders and growers around the world, while Kayagene will be responsible for delivery of the seeds and pollen harboring the trait.
“Day-length insensitivity, like the “autoflower” trait, was an important milestone in the domestication and cultivation of many crop plants and its identification in Cannabis is a significant step towards creating commercially viable varieties of hemp and marijuana,” said Dr. Christopher Hohn, Kayagene’s Director of R&D.
Cannabis (hemp and marijuana) plants harboring the day-neutral or “autoflower” allele flower when they are 3-4 weeks old, independent of day length. Thus, varieties with this trait can be grown year-round in greenhouses or fields without the necessity to manipulate day length, which is cost-efficient when producing multiple flower or seed harvests each year.
In contrast, the current greenhouses and warehouses used to grow Cannabis flowers have a fully controlled environment in which day length is determined artificially via light and shading systems. Such systems are very expensive and limit overall production capacity.
NRGene estimates that following the development of DNA markers for the autoflower trait, it will now be possible to integrate this trait into any Cannabis variety (hemp or marijuana) within 12 to 18 months.
“We are delighted to offer the cannabis and hemp community the autoflower trait and DNA markers identified using our world leading genomics tools,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO & Co-Founder. “Our collaboration with Kayagene already delivers results that could reshape cannabis cultivation worldwide”.