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General Irregularities/Anomalies of Cannabis Relating to Transgressive Segregation

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
New DJ Short Article-General Irregularities/Anomalies of Cannabis Relating to Transgressive Segregation

Some of the Blue Family lines of cannabis (True Blueberry, Grape Krush, etc.) are known to occasionally sport various anomalies and irregularities. The main anomaly reported from these lines is that of the "krinkle" leaf type. Also referred to as a form of variegation this irregularity usually involves a twisting or convolution along half of the leaf divided along the central leaf vein. This anomaly usually affects anywhere from 5% to 20% of a given sample depending on the strain (TB = 5% to 10%, GK = 10% to 20%). In and of itself, this trait does not affect yield or the overall health of the plant. It is merely a simple deformity unique to this line of cannabis.

It is important to know the differences between simple deformities and more complex mutations. Simple deformities and anomalies are semi-common phenomenon whereas genetic mutation is by far more rare and profound. Most of the irregular expressions witnessed in some of the Blue Family lines are mere deformities. Very few are true gross mutations and those are usually sterile or non-viable (usually < %1).

I used to think that the deformities witnessed in certain lines of cannabis were strictly the result of a mutagenic regimen such as colchicine. Variegation in particular is a typical symptom of such a process. If such a process were used on the varieties of cannabis I have worked with, I assume that it was in the Thai lines as that is where most of these traits seem to originate. There is, however, another aspect to consider regarding these anomalies called transgressive segregation.

Transgressive segregation refers to the situation where the progeny from crosses of distinctly different P1's exhibit characteristics beyond what either parent exhibited. A good botanical example is that of the cabbage family from which broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts developed from the same meager beach cabbage. This is the level of the diversity witnessed in the f2's and beyond crosses of the plants that I have worked with.

The combination of the two very pure, unique and distinctly different varieties of indica and sativa resulted in the extreme variation in the f-2 and beyond progeny. This is where the anomalies, irregularities, eccentricities and effects of transgressive segregation are witnessed and isolated. It is from this extended diversity that new and exciting lines are discovered and isolated. Simple leaf irregularities are no reason to abandon a particular line, and perhaps are an indication of something worthwhile. Suggesting that these anomalies are in some way detrimental to the overall cannabis gene-pool is akin to suggesting that broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are in some way detrimental to the cabbage family.

[Side Note: What may have been very detrimental to the overall cannabis gene-pool was the "willy-nilly" introduction of indica and indica-based genes to the equatorial regions of the world–circa 1980's. The tropics are susceptible to aggressive takeover by dominant species and sub-species. This may be what happened to the fine sativa land races of yore–coupled with human selection for production-based indica varieties. Hopefully this phenomenon will be relatively short lived as human selection re-kindles the near-lost memory of the beloved land-race sativa.]

The structural differences witnessed in some of the Blue line individuals including anomalies such as leaf shape, leaf krinkle and color variations, along with basic aesthetic qualities such as range of flavor and palate, issues of duration, tolerance and even shelf-life are more than likely the results of transgenic segregation.
None of these minor abnormalities are in any way detrimental to the overall gene-pool. There do occur very rare instances of freakishly deformed and stunted individuals. Every one of these I have ever encountered has been sterile or non-viable. However, some have produced some of the most unique finished product I have ever sampled in terms of flavor, potency and effect. Unfortunately, these extreme abnormalities are not only rare and sterile, most are also nearly impossible to clone.

Please remember, my number one goal when breeding fine herb is that of the finished product. All other factors; structure, color, growth rates and patterns, leaf shape, odor, flavor, height, flowering characteristics, even potency (please see my other comments concerning bland potency versus exciting quality in my book and other articles), etc. are of lesser concern. My secondary concern is the minimization and elimination of hermaphrodites. This is primarily for the indoor community's behalf, as it is my belief that true breeding equatorial (outdoor bred and produced) strains are all monoecious to some degree. It is the quality of the finished product that I aim for with all of my work. Structural considerations are selected for only after a variety passes the "head/body" test.

Please note also that I consider myself more of an artist than a scientist. I respect science for what it is (discipline and controlled focus) and enjoy its utilization, but for me it is still simply another tool with which to create. With that said please allow me to state that much of the science (definitive recipe) involved in supporting my goal (to discover, create and produce truly good herb) remains somewhat of a mystery to me. Due to all of the truly good herb I have had the good fortune to sample, I am confident in identifying what I consider to be truly good herb–with or without the science. I am equally curious, as are many, regarding the scientific observations, disciplines and discoveries that support this goal.

Toward that goal there are a few points I would like to attempt to clarify:

The Purple Thai. As mentioned before, the Purple Thai was a cross between an outstanding Highland Oaxaca and a very freaky Chocolate Thai.

The Chocolate Thai was one of the most difficult plants to grow. It was dark and very asymmetric, rarely sporting any kind of a definite main-stem for any length of time. It was difficult to clone and very hermaphroditic, producing small airy buds at best. The herb from the Chocolate Thai passed the test (the progeny were at least as good as, if not better than, their parent), but had certain problems otherwise (structural and hermaphroditic). It was also similar in potency to the Highland Thai regarding strength, length and type of high.

The Highland Oaxaca was structurally a different strain (tall, with a definite main-stem, symmetric with less hermaphroditism and better formed buds). The two were crossed and the resulting seeds produced the famed Purple Thai that I was able to use for quite awhile. The Purple Thai exhibited the symmetry and desirability of the Oaxaca with the potency and dark coloration of the Chocolate Thai–the best of both worlds, and its hermaphroditism was much more manageable. It also cloned well. The plants from these seeds also passed the test of equal or improved quality progeny in terms of finished product. Personally I preferred the finished product of the Purple Thai to the Chocolate, not just due to its growth patterns but in terms of the overall effect. The original Highland Oaxaca produced the most desirable finished product, in my opinion, and has yet to be replicated to my complete satisfaction.

So technically the Purple Thai was not a true, land-race acclimated P1. However, as far as I was concerned it fit the bill quite well in that it was very consistent in the sativa genes it carried and passed (nearly identical to the Highland Thai). It was also the closest to producing the desirability of the Highland Oaxaca’s finished product.

The Highland Thai, could possibly have been from Burma (now Myanmar), as borders between the two countries are questionable and change. Other drainage systems in the region lead to the Eastern Himalaya, meaning that the "Highland Thai" could have originated from a number of places. The entire Himalayan region has perhaps the greatest concentration of geographic "sweet spots" in the world, many worthy of exploration. The Highland Thai grew much like the Chocolate Thai; asymmetric, with more stretch–especially in the bud structures.

The difference in the finished product between the Highland and Purple Thai was that the Highland Thai was more potent while the Purple Thai was more "kind" ("kind" being more comfortable to endure, especially while tripping). Another way to put it is that the Highland Thai could be more "racy" or "scary" while the Purple Thai tended to be more "relaxed" or "happy". Both had no ceiling or noticeable tolerance effect, and both provided a long lasting experience, as well. Both also shared a very similar sweet/fruity flavored phenotype that was unmistakably Juicy Fruit/Tutti Fruity–the ultimate female breeder (Note: this was from the plants grown locally--Oregon, indoor and out).

Regarding a clue to the equatorial "Holy Grail" such as the Highland Oaxaca and Santa Marta Gold (South and Central American varieties) a certain, unmistakable flavor comes to mind: that of incense cedar/frankincense/burgundy/floral with spicy/savory undertones. Coffee, chocolate and fine tobacco were also present, but the sweet incense cedar is what I most recall from the Highland Oaxaca and Colombian Gold varieties. The Thai was more complex with more spicy/savory aspects atop a finely distilled burgundy (probably more from the cure) and sort of a "dying" floral, sickly-sweet aroma that was unmistakeably Thai herb (sometimes from Hawaiian as well).

An important aspect to note here is that, according to the best of my knowledge, most high quality sativa of the era was in some way shape or form of Thai origin (or greater Himalayan, but for simplicity’s sake referred to as "Thai"). This includes the Oaxaca, Colombian, Panamanian, Hawaiian among others of the late 1970's. Most of it supposedly came from Thai seed stock. Having sampled many of the region-of-origin varieties of the time, I must concur. Many of the Central, South American and the great Island herbs of the time were more than likely of Thai origin. Similarly, today’s version of ‘Sweet Skunk’ (a misnomer for sure) when grown to fully finished bloom and with a long-time cure shares a distinct Thai quality as well.

Therefore, it seems Thai was the fundamental building block for most quality commercial sativa of the 1970's. ("Commercial" is a key word in the previous sentence as I am sure that there were/are many different origins of the regional high quality herbs.) Certain aspects of acclimation must have been responsible for the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences of the various herbs of the time.

My definition of acclimation is: grown in a specific region or circumstance for enough generations (in-line bred) to impart characteristics unique to the region or circumstance–preferably in an herbal "sweet-spot" such as Highland Oaxaca. This is a very important consideration regarding future resurrection of land race varieties.

Side Note: When I was working with these sativa back in the 1970's it was all done either outdoors or under large florescent systems, 8' bulbs set onto 4'X8' sheets of plywood and suspended from 2"X4" frames (obviously before the advent of HID lighting). This was also before the introduction of the Indica (Afghan) genes, which appeared commercially at the same time as HID lighting (circa 1978-‘79).

The indica, or "Afghan" varieties became commercially available at the end of the ‘70's, and were the polar opposite to the Thai’s and other sativa. It is interesting to note that Afghanistan is west and north of the Himalaya while Thailand (and Burma) is east and south. Short, stout, wide-leafed, very symmetric and adapted to a short flowering cycle, the indica is what brought the musky "skunk" odor to the game. I must say that I was not a big fan of the pure indica "skunk" strain. It is the primary culprit responsible for of much of the couch-lock characteristic found in much of today’s herb. Indica usually has a low ceiling and a quick tolerance buildup. In short, it is boring, bland and dull herb, unless one seeks anesthetization (or hashish production).

In the indica’s defense it needs to be noted that it helped birth the indoor cannabis industry. Without the indica’s fast flowering cycle or its dense bud production or its short stature, the indoor grow scene would be very different today. It was somewhat obvious to recognize indica’s virtues and liabilities for what they were. It was work and dedication to breed out the bad and to strive for the desirable. The primary virtue of the indica variety is that of its contributions toward hashish production.

An interesting side-note to the indica breeding scheme was the initial direction of the cross. I found much better success with the sativa/indica cross (the female sativa crossed with the indica pollen) than with the opposite indica/sativa cross (the female indica pollinated with the sativa pollen). Again, this was primarily for quality of finished product from the progeny. I found my "Holy Grails" via the diversity of the sativa/indica cross.

Other anomalies witnessed from the extreme diversity of cannabis include examples of polyploid expression–triple and quadruple types, twins–including various forms of conjoined twins, double leaf and double root phenomenon, along with extreme variation in odor, color and flavor, etc.

So the successes of transgressive segregation are highly dependent upon the selections made in the P1 and f2 generations. These are the most important generations regarding overall selection. The direction of the P1 cross also seemed to play a part in successfully finding high quality herb.

That is all I have time for right now. Feel free to add comments to this thread and I will attempt to answer any questions as time permits. (Please forgive me if I do not respond soon to an inquiry as my life is anything but stable at the moment--hopefully later this year--but in the meantime wish me luck on finding a suitable locale for some serious r & d!) Thank you to all who contribute and partake in this sharing of information--your input is appreciated. So take care, have fun and please keep the discussion flowing.

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