Genetic editing offers marijuana and hemp companies a way to improve plant strains

Genetic editing offers marijuana and hemp companies a way to improve plant strains

The development of new genetic-editing technology offers cannabis companies a cost-effective way to make specific changes to marijuana and hemp plants – such as more disease resistance – without creating a genetically modified organism (GMO). The technology, known as Crispr-Cas9, will allow the cannabis industry to build new, improved plants that promise to introduce hardiness and efficiencies into cultivation. That, in turn, could boost profits. Developed by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, the Crispr-Cas9 gene-editing technique revolutionizes genetic engineering in many fields, including medicine and agriculture. They were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work. In the case of cannabis, Crispr gene editing can produce new testable strains within a matter of weeks – unlike previous, more manual techniques. Some possible changes to the cannabis genome include: • Disease resistance: Large-scale agriculture is susceptible to various pests and diseases. The technique should provide a way to quickly create resistant plants. • Climate tolerance: Climate change will alter how cannabis is grown in the coming decades. Plants that can withstand a wider range of temperature and daylight …
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