Q & A

Question:  What is the difference between a Genetic Breeder and a Master Breeder?

Answer:  A Genetic Breeder uses Cannabis that Master Breeders create along with Landraces to focus on deliberately breeding strains for specific purposes, such as plants that are resistant to pests, drought, have early flowering or have Medicinal uses.  A Genetic Breeder deliberately manipulates the genes of cannabis mechanically for the purpose of creating specific strains or to explain questions about an existing strain.

MORE:  A Master Breeder uses only common breeding techniques and their seed bank to achieve their goals but will often enlist the expertise of a Genetic Breeder to validate a strain developed by that Master Grower.

Question:  What is a seed bank?

Answer:  A seed bank is a collection of seeds of different strains.

MORE: Seed banks have two crucial components; the first is Landrace Strains, Strains that have been stabilized by Mother Nature over countless years. They are 99% identical to their parents.  The second component is common stabilized strains such as OG that have been stabilized over seven generations by Master Breeders.  Once a well-stocked and diverse seed bank has been gathered you can begin your journey to becoming the next Master Breeder!

Question:  How can you tell if a seed is only a cross and not a stabilized seed?

Answer:  You won’t be able to look at a seed and visually identify any abnormality that would be obvious, however the way the package is labeled or what the strain is called may hold the answer.  If the strain is labeled, “ Sour D x OG”, then you know right away it is a cross or crossbred seed and it’s not stable.  If the name of the strain is Sour OG then it’s a good possibility that it is a cross and not a stable seed.  There can be exceptions such as a Sour OG that has been stabilized or Blue Dream which is NOT a stabilized plant or seed.  So even the name or packaging can be deceiving.

MORE:  Blue Dream is a phenotype cross between Blue Berry Kush and the famous Super Silver Haze.  There are currently three distinct different versions of Blue Dream: The Indica dominant light blue/green large sponge bud with a sweet fruity Blue Berry taste swirled with dank Haze. The Sativa dominant Blue Dream with long lime green solid flowers and with a taste that is more Haze than Blue Berry.  Finally there is the Sativa Dominant gold version, which has a milder taste,  long thin golden buds and is not as potent as the other two Blue Dream strains. Think Gorilla grow quality.

Question:  What is a Master Breeder?

Answer:  A Master Breeder has mastery over the cannabis wheel. The wheel being a pie shaped graphic depicting the four components of cannabis which are; Medicinal, Yield, Characteristics and Effects.

Examples of Medicinal are seizure and anti-inflammatory properties.

Yield encompasses the size of the plant and its vigor in different climate zones.

Characteristics are color, taste and smell.

Effects are: sleepy time, creativity, sexual arousal etc. A Master Breeder can with the help of a well stocked seed bank, first design and then create a new strain from the four parts of the cannabis wheel with certainty and deliberation.  A Master Breeder calls their shot before they attempt to make it. There is no slop!  No guessing.  No crossbreeding to see what happens.  A Master Breeder knows what is going to happen.

It takes 7 generations minimum and thousands of phenotypes to stabilize a strain so that every seed is an exact duplicate of the parent.  It also takes up to five years to stabilize that strain unlike crossbreeding, which takes only months to pick one phenotype to mother clones of which there will be NO seeds.

Question:  What is a feminized seed?

Answer:  Here’s what High Times had to say…

Some of the best breeders in the world offer feminized lines and more join them every day.  They’re big in Europe, representing over 90% of sales in some countries, states Green House seeds.

Feminized genetics are ideal for quick and easy growing and flowering, Sensi Seeds writes. “With feminized seeds, gardeners decide how many bushes they want, germinate that number of seeds, then simply grow, flower and reap their rewards.”

Breeders make feminized seeds by stressing a female plant into growing male sex features like pollen, and then using this pollen to fertilize another female. The resulting seeds lack male chromosomes.

Stressing products in use include eliteXelite, the hormone giberillic acid, or the more popular silver thiosulfate solution, Cervantes said.

There is little difference in aroma, flavor, and THC levels between a regular and ‘fem’ variety, High Times reports.  But feminized seeds got a bad reputation due to early efforts with plants that had high hermaphroditic tendencies.

“The problem with this method is that subsequent generations will have the same latent intersex tendencies.  Stress also brings on inter¬sex tendencies earlier,” said Cervantes.

Modern techniques coax pollen from highly unhermaphroditic strains, but they’re still not the best mothers.

Hard core growers turn their nose up at feminized seeds, Cannabis Culture writes, and prefer mother plants and clones.  But outside The Netherlands and North America (where shipping seeds breaks federal law) cloning isn’t as popular.

Feminized seeds are great for growers without access to clean clones, or for demoing an exotic strain you can’t get in clone form locally, or for folks that don’t want to clone their own — especially newcomers, and guerrilla growers.

MORE:  It has been our experience that feminized seeds suck. Because a Feminized seed has been treated or stressed to become Feminized, all of that trauma and or hormonal treatment is turned into genetic information that is carried on to offspring.  Seeds that are feminized are NOT stabilized sexually and in our OPINION, they are weakened and confused.  Feminized plants tend to freak out from any stress from lighting, feeding and or temperature.  Using Feminized seeds can become your worst nightmare when you find your finished crop has seeds!  *A quick note and reminder that Feminized seeds may also be an unstable strain as well as unstable sexually.

Question:  How can you tell a female seed from a male seed?

Answer:  You can visually inspect a seed and with 80% accuracy tell if the seed is a female seed or a male seed by the seeds shape.  If the seed has a dimple on the top and a pointy side for a bottom then it is most likely a female. If the seed has two pointy ends, it is most likely a male seed.

Question:  How long do seeds last?

Answer:  Up to 15 years if stored properly.  Normally 5-8 years sitting helpless in your parents’ top drawer!

MORE:  If you are having trouble germinating a seed try scoring it or using sand paper to thin the shell.  Soaking helps.  Look at a diagram of a seedling that is cross cut that shows the inside morphology of a seed to locate where the root tip is first before sanding or scoring the seed.

Question:  What is the correct way to express the breeding sequence when writing a label for crossbreeding?

Answer:  The female strain name goes first followed by the pollinating male. Example: Female Blue Dream x (pollinating male).

Question:  How long does it take to stabilize a strain?

Answer:  It takes anywhere from four generations to ten generations.  The norm is seven generations.

MORE:  Depending on how closely the strains are genetically similar, the easier it will be to stabilize the strain.  Example, if you are crossbreeding OG with Larry OG it will take fewer generations to stabilize your new strain than if you are crossbreeding OG against a Kush.

Question: Hey NorCal! I found a seed in my flower of Blue Dream. If I grow that seed, will it grow into the same plant or something else?

Answer:  If your flower was from an indoor grow, the chances are very good that your seed will be an exact replica of the mother plant and have the same exact traits. It will also be female. Bulk flower material may also give clues such as unformed seeds supporting the above observation.
If the flower was grown outdoors, the plant may have been pollinated from a male plant which would mean that the seed you found could be anything including being identical to your flower of Blue Dream.

Question:  My plants have seeds and I can’t find the male. What happened?  I don’t see any hermaphrodites and there are seeds on some buds and plants and not others.

Answer:  Sounds like there’s a male somewhere. Pollen gets carried by the wind leaving a trail of pollinated plants that can be followed back like a road map to where the male plant is.
The pollination most likely would not be caused by a hermaphrodite plant unless this was an indoor grow with a closed environment.

Question:  I heard a rumor that 90% of all the known and grown strains in the US are fucked up and carry diseases along with fucked up genetics. Is this true? 

Answer:  No not true. 90% of all strains in the US are not F’d up but many are. 
Most of the familiar strains in the US and abroad have been over crossed, crossed with feminized plants, crossed with auto flowering plants and crossed with disease caring crap so often and so many times that many of the top growers are finding their strains to be larfing, flowering in the vegetative cycle and hermaphroditing under the slightest sign of stress. Many strains carry diseases, molds and bacteria known to be harmful to the plants themselves depending on if the plant came from a seed or a clone. WOW and that’s just scratching the surface of this epic catastrophe in the making. The fear of Mansanto and drug companies taking your genetics from you pales in comparison to this epidemic problem. 

Question:  I bought clones of Sunset Sherbert and they all turned hermaphrodite on me. Indoor grow and I’m an expert. This has never happened to me! Could it be genetic?

Answer: Yes. It was genetic. Sunset Sherbert is unstable. Once again, I can’t stress this enough. You must know who you are dealing with. 
Why did this happen? Bad breeding. Everything is speculation. 
P.S. Sunset’s not the only big name strain out there that has the same problem or worse!