Peer-Reviewed study pinpoints the first-discovered mildew-resistant cannabis gene

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Dewey Scientific, a Washington-based agtech startup that seeks to provide cannabis focused research to cultivators, has identified the first powdery mildew resistant gene found in the cannabis plant.

The Agtech innovator recently issued a statement about the online publication of fresh data that outlines the first experimentally-credified disease-repellent gene in cannabis.

The research study is featured in an article, titled, “Discovery and Genetic Mapping of PM1, a Powdery Mildew Resistance Gene in Cannabis sativa L.” It is published under the topic “Cannabis IPM: Insect Pests and Diseases” in the Journal Frontiers in Agronomy.”

“This discovery and characterization of naturally occurring powdery mildew resistance breaks important new ground, helping to elevate our understanding of the cannabis crop to that of other economically vital agricultural commodities such as hops, berries, or grapevines,” said the co-founder and CEO of Dewey Scientific, Dr. Jordan Zager.

Dewey is committed to establishing foundations that will unveil extra resources of genetic imperviousness to the many pathogens renowned for polluting Cannabis sativa.

Findings of peer-reviewed research into mildew-resistant cannabis gene could help expand cannabis cultivars

Now that the Dewey team has successfully identified and characterized PM1, developing the next generation of cannabis cultivars will be a much easier task. Specifically, Dr. Zager noted that the cultivars will be ideally suited for “large scale production and optimal efficiency.” 

“At Dewey, we’ve already integrated this key resistance gene into over a dozen commercial-ready varieties through classic breeding techniques,” said Dr. Zager, who is excited about what the future holds for the global cannabis industry, which is projected to reach $90.4 billion by 2026.

Examples of the authors who contributed to this peer-reviewed research are Dewey Scientific co-founder Paul D. Mihalyov, PhD and Oregon CBD’s Director of Research & Development (R&D) Andrea R. Garfinkel, PhD. Génome Québec and Lighthouse Genomics provided the team with genotyping technologies.

“Pest control strategies that require active management can be difficult to communicate and synchronize across vulnerable farms. Instead, using plant varieties with a naturally robust immune system can make a grower’s life much easier,” said Mihalyov, adding that, “taking advantage of natural genetic resistance is also a more sustainable approach than the ‘spray and pray’ method.”

Cannabis plant mildew and fungi represent an ongoing problem for cultivators

“Powdery mildew” is a term frequently used to describe various types of plant pathogenic fungi, inclusive of fungi from the genus Golovinomyces. This type of fungi in particular tends to negatively impact commercially cultivated hemp and cannabis plants.

Dewey’s scientific endeavor represents the first of his kind to accurately monitor and validate the genetic heritability of powdery mildew. Aside from identifying a mildew resistant cannabis gene, the authors also successfully managed to create a genetic marker capable of detecting PM1 with a simple analysis. What this means is that the trait can be merged with any cultivar using traditional breeding methods; as opposed to genetic modification or transgenics.

Additional research published by Dr. Zager and Dewey’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Lange can be found in various peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Plant Physiology. Examples of the investigated subject matters include natural product biosynthesis and terpene biochemistry.