Cannabis synthetic seeds: An alternative approach for commercial scale of clonal propagation and germplasm conservation

Indoor cannabis cultivation has been rapidly increasing in many countries after legalization. Besides conventional propagation through cuttings, synthetic seed production provides a competent system for mass propagation, germplasm conservation, and international exchange of genetic materials.

The present study developed a reliable protocol for cannabis synthetic seed production using encapsulation of nodal segments derived from in vitro or in vivo sources. Synthetic seeds were produced in 3% sodium alginate and 75 mM calcium chloride in Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium and stored under various environmental conditions for up to 150 days. The plantlets regrowth efficiency was monitored on culture media up to 30 days after the storage period.

Regrowth rates of 70% and 90% were observed in synthetic seeds from in vitro and in vivo-derived sources, respectively, when stored at 6 °C under 50 μmol s−1 m−2 light for 150 days. Furthermore, the addition of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to the encapsulation matrix not only postponed precocious germination of synthetic seeds at 22 °C but also improved the regrowth rate of in vivo-derived synthetic seeds to 100% when they were stored at 6 °C under light. Exposure to light during storage significantly increased the shoot length of regrown synseeds when compared to those stored in darkness. This difference in shoot growth disappeared when synseeds were treated with 25 µM ASA. All regenerated plantlets were rooted and acclimatized in sterile rockwool plugs without morphological changes.

Zarei A, Feyissa BA, Davis B, Tavakouli Dinani E. Cannabis Synthetic Seeds: An Alternative Approach for Commercial Scale of Clonal Propagation and Germplasm Conservation. Plants. 2022; 11(23):3186.  

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