Chat GPT Breeding

I was just playing around with chat GPT and asking it some questions about Cannabis breeding techniques. Anyway, I thought they were interesting and thorough overview. Here is some of the responses from my prompt…

You: “is back crossing or selfing better for preserving a clonal cannabis variety?”

Chat GPT:

“Both backcrossing and selfing are breeding techniques used to stabilize and preserve desirable traits in a cannabis variety, especially when trying to maintain specific characteristics in a clone or line of plants.


  • Purpose: Backcrossing involves crossing a hybrid plant with one of its parent strains to reinforce specific traits from the parent while retaining most of the hybrid’s qualities.
  • Preservation: It’s effective for preserving certain traits from the original clone or variety while addressing any undesirable variations that might have occurred.
  • Genetic Stability: Helps in stabilizing the genetics by consistently reintroducing the desired traits from the parent strain.

Selfing (Self-Pollination):

  • Purpose: Selfing involves allowing a female plant to pollinate itself, producing seeds with highly similar genetic traits to the parent.
  • Preservation: It’s useful for preserving the genetic makeup of a specific clone or variety, ensuring offspring closely resemble the parent plant.
  • Genetic Stability: Selfing can help maintain the genetic stability of a particular phenotype but might also intensify any genetic weaknesses or undesirable traits present in the parent.

Which is Better for Preserving a Clonal Cannabis Variety?

  • Both techniques have their advantages and potential drawbacks.
  • Backcrossing might introduce more genetic diversity by reintroducing traits from the parent, which could be beneficial if the original clone has some weaknesses or deficiencies.
  • Selfing is more straightforward and tends to maintain the genetic stability of the original clone, but it might also perpetuate any flaws or weaknesses present in the parent plant.

The choice between backcrossing and selfing for preserving a clonal variety often depends on the specific objectives and the characteristics of the clone. Experimentation and careful observation of the resulting offspring are crucial to determine which method best maintains the desired traits and genetic stability in the long term.”

The decision to self or backcross a strain to preserve it depends on several factors:

1. Desired Traits: If the goal is to maintain the exact genetic makeup of the strain without introducing any additional genetic variation, selfing might be more appropriate. Selfing tends to preserve the original genetic makeup more faithfully.

2. Genetic Stability: Selfing maintains genetic stability for specific traits but might also intensify any weaknesses or undesirable traits present in the parent. Backcrossing, on the other hand, can introduce some genetic diversity while still preserving key traits.

3. Long-Term Preservation: If the strain has specific vulnerabilities or lacks certain desirable characteristics, backcrossing could help reinforce those traits from the parent strain while preserving the overall genetic makeup.

4. Breeding Goals: If the primary aim is to preserve the strain’s unique characteristics and maintain its lineage without much alteration, selfing might be preferred. However, if there’s a need to improve specific aspects or reinforce certain traits, backcrossing might be more suitable.

Ultimately, the decision should align with the specific objectives and characteristics of the strain in question. Careful consideration of the strain’s strengths, weaknesses, and breeding goals will guide whether selfing or backcrossing is the more suitable approach for preserving the strain. Often, a combination of both methods could be used strategically to maintain the strain’s integrity while addressing any weaknesses or shortcomings.”

Credit: OPEN AI