What is genetics? Hemp is a beautiful plant…
by John Peterson
Humans and Cannabis have been in the process of co-evolution for thousands and thousands of years around the world. Through this co-evolution cannabis developed a variety of medical, nutritional and industrial uses. The properties we value are all controlled by the genetic information of the plant’s DNA.
The density of the stems and trunks, the size and width of the leaves, the large size of the shoot and the aroma that emerges and when, which angle is preferred when a new trunk grows, how large the seeds become, and all aspects of the plant are determined by the way the genes interact with environmental stimuli: Light, nutrients, biological tissue, temperature, humidity and all the rest, to become a mature plant that we harvest for fibers, seeds, oil and flowers.
Genes build and regulate protein production. The proteins that work together create the tissues and structure of the plant. This process is called ”expression”. The DNA it is messy, sometimes with many copies of a gene, some with small errors, which are ancient remnants buried in a tightly braided DNA.Not all these genes are “activated” but they are repulsed. Some genes remain repressed for some periods of growth, some of the seeds, and some others from the environment. The map of the genes that expresses them is known as the “epigenome”.
Many of the plant’s decisions about which genes are expressed or repelled and when are determined by the conditions under which it grows. Ideal conditions allow the plant to reach its highest genetic potential: Ideal conversion of sunlight, water and nutrients in the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds. Conditions that are more difficult for the plant they can make genes activate or deactivate. Some of the changes in expression may help it survive in harsher conditions, and some will not help the plant at all, but all these changes take away from the plant its ability to offer us in abundance.
When a plant goes through a period of harsh conditions we subject the plant to stress. Stressful plants will retain these changes during their lives and possibly in their seeds. In conclusion, reducing stress in the care of cannabis plants is a major factor, and the farmer’s job is to assure that the plant has what it needs to reach its full genetic potential.
The Green Greeks Magazine