Nov 25, 2016

Cannabis Genotype vs. Phenotype

There are there are defining characteristics for every strain, but each plant uniquely expresses genes according to its garden environment. That is why the government is so determined to control the production process, from seed to distribution.

Two things influence the structural formation of any given cannabis plant: genetics and environment. The plant’s genetic makeup, also called a genotype, acts as a blueprint for growth: it allows a spectrum of physical possibilities, but it is up to the environment to induce these characteristics.

The physical expression of a genotype is referred to as a phenotype, which is simply defined as the traits that the environment pulls out from the plant’s genetic code. Everything from color, shape, smell, and resin production are affected by the environment.

Cannabis breeding took a major turn during the 1970s and 1980s when federal anti-cannabis sentiments peaked, driving cultivation from the great outdoors to inside. Indoor gardens, raised by soil, electric lights, and hydroponic systems, produce a bulk of the cannabis in the market today. The plant’s phenotypic expression depends on: nutrients, temperature, the amount and angle of light, soil type, photoperiod length, time of harvest, and the distance between the plant and light source. These and other conditions affect a plant’s characteristics.

Narrowing diversity even further, growers during this time were primarily motivated by THC content and selectively chose this characteristic over other important chemical constituents like CBD.