Dewey Scientific has published new data describing the first experimentally validated disease resistance gene in cannabis. The abstract, titled “Discovery and Genetic Mapping of PM1, a Powdery Mildew Resistance Gene in Cannabis sativa L”, can be found in the special topic “Cannabis IPM – Insect Pests and Diseases” by Frontiers in Agronomy.
The goal of the research is to provide a foundation for the discovery and characterization of additional sources of genetic resistance to the various pathogens that infect C. sativa.
“This discovery and characterization of naturally occurring powdery mildew resistance breaks important new ground, helping to elevate our understanding of the cannabis crop to that of other economically vital agricultural commodities such as hops, berries, or grapevines,” said Dewey Scientific Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Jordan Zager. “The identification and characterization of PM1 is the first step in establishing the next generation of cannabis cultivars that are suited both for large scale production and optimal efficiency. At Dewey, we’ve already integrated this key resistance gene into over a dozen commercial-ready varieties through classic breeding techniques.”
Authors included Dewey Scientific Co-Founder Paul D. Mihalyov, PhD and Oregon CBD Director of Research & Development Andrea R. Garfinkel, PhD. Genotyping technologies were provided by Lighthouse Genomics and Génome Québec.
“Pest control strategies that require active management can be difficult to communicate and synchronize across vulnerable farms. Instead, using plant varieties with a naturally robust immune system can make a grower’s life much easier,” said Mihalyov. “Taking advantage of natural genetic resistance is also a more sustainable approach than the ‘spray and pray’ method.”
Powdery mildew is a common term for several plant pathogenic fungi, including fungi from the genus Golovinomyces, affecting both commercially cultivated hemp and marijuana. While resistant plants have occasionally been observed, this study is the first to verify and track its genetic heritability. In the open-access manuscript, the authors also developed a genetic marker to detect PM1 with a simple assay, allowing the trait to be introduced into any cultivar using classical breeding methods instead of transgenics or gene editing.
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